Organic Cup Review (might be slightly TMI but totally needs to be shared!)

Hello everyone!

I hope you are doing well. So, let’s get it out of the way fast, shall we?

Today’s post is about women and their periods. Apologies to my male readers that might find this post maybe a little unrelated to them but I really – REALLY – want to share my experience with the Organic Cup hoping that other women can be helped as much as I was.

So, here it goes.

What is the Organic Cup?

The Organic Cup is 100% free of bleach, glue, perfume, lotion or indeed anything that doesn’t belong inside your body. It is a plastic vessel made out of organic medical grade silicon and women can use it instead of a pad or tampon (and it comes in a super cute little bag to store it when not using it).

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After seeing all the hype and being quite unhappy with the products currently on the market about menstruation I figured I should give it a go. So i put it to the test and here is my rating on it:

Health – well, we ‘ve all heard of TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) and it is a nasty business. Well, you can forget about that! Since the cup just collects and doesn’t absorb the blood it makes it healthier (and safer) for your body without affecting you or your body’s pH in anyway. Also goodbye sprint trips to the bathroom 5-6 times a day and uncomfortable odours. I have a super heavy flow and still for the first day or two I only need 4 changes during the 24 hour day period, while the rest of the days every 12 hours will happily do.

Environment – The amount of sanitary (NON – recyclable) products that a woman will use in her life time is insane. Just take a look…

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So, good for the environment and for your body – check!

Finance – The Organic Cup is at a price of £21 ($27) and it lasts for years. A box of tampons is anywhere between £3 to £3.50 ($4 -$4.5) and the majority of women use at least 2 boxes a month. That is about £100/year.

Placement & maintenance –  Ok, now here is the most interesting bit. I ‘ve talked to female friends of mine about the Organic Cup – every chance I get actually lol – and there are always a few of the same questions. “How?”, “Isn’t it going to get lost in there?“, “Does it fit?” Well, yes it takes a bit of practice – but dont tell me using a tampon for the first time was easy lol!! And no, it will definitely won’t get “lost” in there and it does come in two sizes. One for women that haven’t given birth and a slightly bigger size for women with kids 😉  To be honest, it will take a few times to get used to it but for me was totally worth it!

As for maintenance, all you need to do is boil it before using it at the beginning of your circle and then again at the end. In between, all you have to do is take it out, empty it and wash it with water (or wipe it if in public bathroom) and then in again. I have heard some people saying that they use soap but for this specific cup it is not recommended due to the nature of the silicone.

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Safety –  I have done EVERYTHING while on my period because of the Organic Cup. Long runs (over 30km), swimming, horseback riding, boxing, working out and never had an accident or felt in the least bit uncomfortable. It’s like I can forget i am on my period – when I am not in pain that is… – when I wear it.

So, overall, YES!! From the moment I started using it it has changed my life. I don’t feel like I have to miss out on things because i ‘m on my period. I can do anything and I am totally loving it!!

PS: I wasn’t compensated in any way and did not receive any free products for this review. I just wanted to share with as many women as I could my amazing experience with something that fundamentally changed my life.  ❤

Thanks for reading ladies (and maybe gentlemen) 🙂

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Food For Running Success Book Review & GIVEAWAY!!

Hello everyone 🙂

How is your week so far? Things over here have been pretty hectic with me being at work for about 12 to 13 hours a day but since things are working so far I have absolutely no complaints 🙂 . Training has slowed down this week – and this is totally intentional – since my half marathon is coming up on Sunday – and I was swamped….

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Speaking of training, there is one aspect that I have to admit I have been struggling with since I started this cycle, or even from before that. That is food and fuelling. I have done all the rookie mistakes – as expected – along with gaining 8 – 10 lbs during training for my first half marathon and going into an evening long run with merely a banana and an insufficient lunch before it.

I don’t know if it is the fact that I have been crazy busy or just not organised lately but yes my eating has been totally all over the place.

With all the above in mind, about a month ago, I got an email from an editor asking me if I was interested to review a running related book that would be coming out soon. I read a bit about the book and when I saw it was called  “Fast Fuel – Food for Running Success” I literally jumped at the opportunity! It could not have come at a better time!

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I have to admit in the beginning I was a little scared, since given the new hype of “healthy lifestyle professionals” who have been all around the internet giving advice on matters that they are totally cluelles and untrained for (yes, I know other topic for other time…) or promoting fake/unhealthy diets, food replacements and pills, I really wanted to know who the author was and how qualified she was.

So I did my research (occupational hazard LOL), read the book and tried a few recipes. The author is   Renee McGregor who is a REAL sports nutritionist – you know one of those that actually go to school for it! – with several academic degrees who works with professional and elite athletes. She is one of the best in the UK!

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I totally fell in love with the book! The main reason is because Renee uses science to support all of her suggestions in the book. And trust me when I tell you, I have been asked to review a few of those “clean eating” guides that clueless people write and I ‘ve had my hair standing up on the top of my head with all the misguided misconceptions that i have read… This book, I will happily recommend because I honestly believe that it can educate the runner. Here are a few main points that I really liked:

  • It gives you a very good – scientific but still understandable – introduction on how the body works when food is consumed and what is the break down process.
  • It gives you example of meal plans depending on the type of training you have scheduled for the day (HIIT, speed work, easy runs etc) and also explains what your body needs and why, depending on what type of work out you do.
  • It provides you with real life examples. It does NOT offer a specific diet or a meal plan rather it gives the reader all the tools it needs to make his/her own meal plan tailored to their needs.
  • It has some really yummy recipes and offers home made alternatives to all store bought types of fuelling.

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-06-26-28All and all I would recommend this to any runner who wants to improve their performance but can’t budget in £100/visit for nutritionist appointments 😉

I read most of it in the subway on my way to and from work, but I soon realised that this was more like a guide that you study than a book that you read – totally my style 😉 – so I started high-lighting and note keeping so I can really remember all the bits I want to!

And exactly because I liked it so much, I am doing a GIVEAWAY and one lucky reader would get their very own copy of “Fast Fuel – Food for Running Success” 😀 😀 To enter the the giveaway go here –>

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

So here is my rating for the book: 10/10 🙂

Oh and don’t forget it is almost the weekend 🙂 Have a great rest of the week everyone!!

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*Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of the book in order to review it, however this is, as ALWAYS, my very OWN personal opinion.

Rough Runner 10km obstacle course race recap!

If I could describe this race in 3 words?

AWESOME

FUN

CHALLENGING

Ladies and gentlemen —> Running buddy Corey and I at Rough Runner 2016 😀

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I totally loved it! This is my very first obstacle race, a lot of first lately right??? Thanks Corey 😉 And I do have to admit I was anxious about it. the night before my running buddy Corey called and – according to her and my boyfriend – I was miss grumpy pants lol!

So @mymamus and I headed to Clapham Common – which is only about 25 mins from my house – and met with Corey, her husband  Glen and my goof friend Katalin. Registration took literally 3 minutes and we were in line waiting for the 5 minute briefing (general course rules) and 10 min warm up. After that we were off!!

The 10km course had 15 obstacles and at least half of them included water 🙂 Oh the joy!!! – we were following the blue line!

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I have to be honest I dont completely remember the order of the obstacles but the boys (and Katalin 🙂 ) made sure they took photos of us trying most of them!

So, this is where we first got wet… I admit i didn’t make it past the second gigantic orange ball! But it was still so much fun!!

Wet but SUPER excited!!

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Next was the zip line bar! Good coordination and …. VUALA!! We made it across!!!

Then we had to go through some human sized pigeons …

And also climb up a wall and down a  wall… I totally love how synchronised Corey and I were lol!!! We do make a great team <3!

Next one was this silly thingy looking like a shaw… run, jump (repeat a few time to get it right since Corey is quite taller than i am lol) and roll to the other side!

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I think our faces here are totally priceless!!

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And then it was the second one we didnt make it through… I am still kicking myself for not taking off my gloves for this one… but oh well, splashing in the pool was fun too!

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oh, if you are wondering why my face is like that, I was admiring Corey’s effort before she very graciously as well splashed into the pool 😉

Now this one, I have to admit it was probably the hardest one! you can see a video here, on Corey’s youtube channel.

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And then, there were those weird rotating thingies…

And these…

And to top it all THIS is how the course ends…. the TRAVELATOR….

Fell on my face twice before I finally made it! Oh by the way, see this belt with the marked arrows?? IT MOVES! The opposite way of the way I am running up!!!

Attempt #1 … FAIL

Attempt #2 … DONE!

A little too excited you ‘d say???

So we smashed it,and finished the race (i didn’t really care but i think it was about 1:20 mins lol) and got our bling – which was also a bottle opener/key holder! Awesome!!

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PS: in case you are wondering how we managed to match our outifts?? Remember my Decathlon running series race recap? We are totally in love with the running t-shirt we got there! Fits perfectly and doesn’t get all droopy when wet! thanks @Decathlon 😉

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So all and all — YOU SHOULD TOTALLY TRY IT OUT!!!! We had a blast! It felt like an adult fitness playground!!!

(My entry to the race was complimentary but all the opinions are my own as always!) 

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Camari Gear compression sleeves – REVIEW

Hello everyone! Happy hump day 😉

Hope your week started off great! Mine has me running around like a mad woman with work these days but I ‘m totally loving it!

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So, as you ‘ve probably heard before I have been on the look out for a pair of compression sock, that works but doesn’t cost an arm and a leg! Call me crazy but I do find pretty bad to have to pay £20-25 for a pair of socks…

So a few weeks ago I go the opportunity to review two pairs of  compression sleeves from Camari gear. A calf one and a shorter one.

And I have to admit… it was a HUGE success! I totally loved them and I am wearing every time after a long run.

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According to the company the sleeves/socks are made of:

“HIGH QUALITY MATERIAL: The Calf Compression Sleeve by Camari Gear are made of premium quality, breathable & durable fabric made of 75% Nylon and 25% Spandex.The Spandex helps maintain firm pressure on the calves due to its superior compression characteristics thereby preventing calf strain and shin splints. Our compression sleeves are extensively factory tested to ensure optimal graduated compression at all points.”

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So for me the biggest test happened on Friday. After running 27km between 6-9am, I went straight to work (crazy me!?!?) and had a full work day of 10 hours – on my feet all day! I was wearing the Camari gear compression sleeves and you know what… It felt great! My legs actively recovered while I was working (and secretly stretching every chance I got lol)

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They also came along to my first trail run 🙂 And it was bliss to be able to get oout of my muddy shoes and into these short sleeves and my flip flops. I totally love the fact that your toes are not covered like my other short compression socks. It allows me to wear flip flops after my run and also i never liked it when my toes were “compressed” 😉

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So here is my rating:

material: 10/10 – it feels soft and doens’t make my legs itch

compression: 9/10 – I got myself the medium size and it was a little too tight but I think it ‘ll stretch a little and it’ll feel better after a while.

price: 10/10 – great value for money!

OVERALL: 9.5/10

You can get the sleeves on Amazon here and here. Also you can follow them on Twitter 🙂

Disclaimer: I didn’t get paid for this review but I did receive FREE products. All opinions are my own. I am not a licensed personal trainer neither a sports specialist or a medical doctor. 

I hope you guys have an awesome rest of the week!!!

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HAMSWAN Oil Diffuser Product Review & GIVEAWAY!!

Hello everyone 🙂

Hope you are having an awesome week so far. Here things have been a little crazy, but you ‘ll never hear me complain about being busy! As @mymamus says I totally thrive on it 😉 Ok, I am so excited about writing this post today!! It is Tale of Two Runs very FIRST GIVEAWAY!!

So what do I have in store for you today?

Well a few weeks ago I got an email from the Hamswan company asking me to review one of their products. A brand new –totally cool looking- oil diffuser. I have to admit I ‘ve never had anything similar in the past so I was totally intrigued about it and of course I said yes 😀

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And now you guys get the chance to hear all about it LOL!

So first things first, getting it was as easy as Amazon shopping. Yup, that easy… Since you can find it on Amazon (for UK here and the rest of the world here). When it arrived, only 3 days later, it was all safely packed in a box and nothing was broken or out of order.

This is what was in the box (the essential oil wasn’t included):

  • The actual diffuser apparatus
  • A plastic measuring cup
  • A plug and its wire
  • An instruction manual

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The instructions are very easy, and it was a piece of cake putting it together. The diffuser has 2 different settings for the (very pretty) lights around the base of it, both bright and non bright light colour options. It also has two different diffusion settings. A continuous one, which lasts for 3-6 hours and an on-off every 30 seconds one which lasts for 6-8 hours.

My biggest worry was what would happen if I totally forgot to turn it off – which was more than likely to happen since I am famous for forgetting or losing things… Remember the time I lost my credit card and found it in the refrigerator underneath the butter??? Yeah, that is what I thought too LOL! But luckily, the diffuser will automatically shut itself off when it is about to run out of water, phew … relief!

Have a look at the video below and you ‘ll see how cool it looks like 😉 I am totally sold for the “smoke” effect which in reality is just the water evaporating!

To my opinion and after trying it for a few weeks, the Hamswan oil diffuser, is a pretty good deal. First of all it is safe, second it (really) does make the room – or our whole house really since we have an one bedroom apartment – smell amazing, and also have you seen how cool it looks like??? You get a few different options to choose from depending on your home decor, but my very favourite one is the wooden one – yup real wood!

The only thing that you should really be aware of is to not over fill the water container! But it is clearly labelled so this is pretty hard to miss…

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The oils are not included in the package, but I had a few at home since the time when I used to use a candle oil diffuser (risky enough huh? LOL) so our current favourite it was the UPLIFTING tangerine smell – a good friend of ours gifted it to me 😉

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So, as promised 😀 Here is the giveaway where you guys get the chance to win one of those really cool oil diffuser! Good luck and I will announce the winner by the end of the giveaway next week …!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

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4 tips to add cross training into your marathon training – WeTrain!

Hello everyone 🙂

Hope you are having a brilliant Wednesday so far!

It’s been 6 weeks since I started my (very first) marathon training cycle, and I have to admit, even with the expected (and unexpected) ups and downs the running part of my training has been going quite well and I am very satisfied with it 😀 Yes, I did say the “running part” and you are probably wondering what other part but running can there be in a MARATHON training cycle…

Well, as many of us know, cross training during marathon training is as important as running itself (same goes for stretching and foam rolling but I’ll get into this in another post). Quite a few options can be considered cross training: cycling, weight lifting, dancing, swimming, spinning… In general anything BUT running 😉

So, you ‘ve manage to run four times this week and you are very excited with your progress – feel like taking three or two days of rest instead of one?? Don’t! Don’t skip cross training because you feel good.. because you can feel EVEN BETTER!

Get those ab exercises in —> You need a strong core for better endurance during running

Get those squats in —> You need strong glutes for better support during running

So, since 1+1 = 2… All and all you need to work more muscle than the ones you are working when running  for your performance levels to increase… (Trust the scientist 😉 😛 )

My way of making sure I will NOT skip cross-training… It’s called WeTrain and it is rather brilliant if I may say so 🙂

But it all “sounds” great on paper right???? How do you make it happen when you are tired, busy and all you want to do is reward yourself with a glass of wine and some quality Netflix binging???

THIS is what I do!

*Arrange to workout with friends!

For me this a usual Tuesday evening workout with Elle from WeTrain! Knowing that someone is waiting for you is pretty much all the motivation most of us need to be kept accountable!

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*Get out of the gym!

As long as the weather permits it (especially when this is London we are talking about) you should GET OUT and have fun! I absolutely ❤ working out in the park! And WeTrain offers many sessions in local parks (around South London for all of you London based friends) which makes working out extra fun!

*Get a personal trainer (you can actually afford…..)

Sometimes a regular gym membership ain’t gonna cut it…Attending a class along with 15 or 20 more people is one thing, but attending a class with just you or another 5-7 people tops (and most of them your friends) it is taking your fitness to a totally other level! It is like having a personal trainer making sure that your form is right, motivating you, even yelling when necessary is TOTALLY all you need to get to your full potential. For me WeTrain was the only option (here in London) that I could actually (and happily) afford and really worked for my needs…

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*Make it a date!

It is the same thing I (usually) do for my long runs! Having something to look forward to works wonders for your motivation. For me that is french toast with bacon and maple syrup and a good cup of Joe. If that is along with great friends after a sweaty work out EVEN better 😀 Love the latest WeTrain Blog post about their pre-brunch workout and also all the local suggestions for a great brunch!

For all my London based friends check out their Webpage, Facebook or Instagram 🙂 and you should totally give it a go! They offer a wide range of sessions, from HIIT workout and bootcamp style classes to yoga and stretches, and they can be either outside in the park or in a studio/gym.

I am definitely trying their yoga class this weekend after my long run… My seriously stiff legs are in sore need of some stretching!

What do you do for cross-training? And how many times a week?

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*Disclaimer: I did receive a month of free workout sessions in order to try out and review this service, however this is, as ALWAYS, my OWN personal opinion.

5 reasons why EVERY runner should have a video gait analysis done

Hello friends 🙂

So yesterday I did something i was meaning to do for a while. I bought my new pair of running shoes, the ones I am planning on running my marathon in – got plenty of time to break them in before my marathon of course!

As you can tell I was pretty ecstatic about it 😉

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But what did I do different this time? Well, my running felt a little off the past few weeks… nothing too painful, I just didn’t  “flow” and “bounce” like I used too. So I decided it was time to short of step up my game and get a gait analysis done on my feet.

I’ll share with you the process (which is pretty simple actually) and all the reasons why I really believe that every runner should get it.

First things first they measure your foot size (I am a 6.5 to 7 UK size). And yes of course i am wearing different socks since i am totally incapable of having a normal pair… 😉

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They start you off with the most neutral pair of shoes – tried this awesome pair of Brooks first and they stick you on the treadmill to get a baseline for your stride. There is a camera on the back of the treadmill that records your running while you run for about 20 seconds each time at a speed between 8-10.

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(you can see the camera inside the little opening in the white table)

So what they are looking for is:

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(Image is from the runner’s need website)

  • for your feet (ankle joint) to be as neutral as possible
  • you waistline/lower back (imagine a line where the waistband of your jeans is) to keep the form of  a straight line  while you run

According to James (the specialist who did the analysis to me) I showed:

  1. I have a very low arch on my foot,
  2. also have over pronation on my left foot (probably cause of an old injury) – It looked a lot like the middle picture above 😦
  3. and slight supination on my right
  4. I was putting extra weight on my left side (this they can tell because my lower back was not a straight line while i was running)

The image on the left is a mild case of over pronation (like mine) while the image on the right is a pretty much good form 

One of the main reasons for this type of bad running  form according to Runner’s World is weak hips (so now I know that hip exercises and lunges are on the top of my list!)

Trying on a few different pairs in order to get my stride and ankle angles to as close to 175 degrees angle as possible (every time you step back on the treadmill and you compare this recording to the first (baseline one) and you are looking for improvements)–>

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The notion is you get a baseline and then you work your way towards trying to fix whatever is wrong with the person’s stepping/running. In my case we went from neutral to a “stability” type shoe with control motion but it actually made my over pronation on the left worse. So we worked our way back to a neutral but more supporting shoe.

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And we had a winner! Saucony rider9 was the perfect fit!

 

And of course I had to take them out for a spin the moment I got home, so I did some repeats at the nearby park 🙂

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So finally here is my 5 reasons for suggesting to ALL runners to get a gait analysis and make sure your shoe is the RIGHT FIT for you:

  1. Prevents injuries and relieves your body from unnecessary stress
  2. Makes running easier and more enjoyable
  3. No more black/lost toenails since there is an appropriate fit that allows for enough space in the shoe’s toe box
  4. You get to see yourself running and this gives you the ability to fix/improve on bad form
  5. Now you know for a fact what type of shoe is the best for you

All the people at  runner’s need store (in Monument by London bridge) were extremely friendly and knowledgable. If you are new to running that is totally OK as well, they will make sure you get familiarised with the treadmill before hand and also they will explain everything to you. My personal experience was a great one!

I’d like to thank James from the Runner’s need store Monument for all his help and also my good friend Jen for coming along to take all this cool pictures of me during my gait analysis test 🙂

Most of the specialised running stores provide a video gait analysis service. For all my UK based friends all  Runner’s need stores provide this service for free 🙂

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*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I did not receive any reimbursement for writing it. This is my personal opinion.