Juice your greens oranges and apples

Eat your greens? Well, now it’s time to juice your greens and drink ’em too. My social media feeds these days are full of wellness, fitness and yoga babes with images of green juices being a common theme. Looks a little like you’re drinking algae, or some form of liquid grass, but get the combination right and you’re onto a winner. These juices pack a serious nutrient hit and are a great way to get in some of your 8 a day.

I’m a regular smoothie drinker myself, so when I was invited to attend a juice workshop and body conditioning class with a bunch of other health conscious bloggers, I was happy to attend with friends Ché and Lulu.

Juice your greens with Derry Temple of Temple Training

Exercise and nutrition expert, Derry Temple of Temple Training started the evening with an informative talk about the benefits of incorporating juicing into your daily life. As well as the many positives such as detoxification, increased energy and strengthening your immune system, there are also some negatives including the loss of all the good fibre and the high amount of fructose (fruit sugar) if you do drink a lot of fruit juice.

Juicing tips

  • Buy organic fruit and vegetables where possible.
  • Be mindful of the ‘Dirty Dozen and Clean 15‘. These are your fruit and vegetables that are most and least likely to contain nasty pesticide residue.
  • Always wash your fruit and vegetables before juicing.
  • Add more vegetables than fruit to avoid too much fructose. Think spinach, kale, cucumber, carrots, celery…
  • If you do prefer your juice sweet, try adding lemon, or lime juice to sweeten rather than using more fruit. High fructose in your diet spikes your insulin (not good).
  • Add protein powder to your juice post-workout.
  • Your body needs good fats and protein. Juices do not replace a healthy, balanced diet.

After learning the ins and outs, it was our turn to raid all the delicious fruit and vegetables to have a go at making a juice ourselves.

Juice your greens Philips juicer

Juice your greens - Fruit and Vegetables

There was a large rainbow selection of fruit and vegetables, which all got well utilised and put to good use. I whipped up a ‘Ginger Cleanse’, but also got over excited and added 2 oranges, half a cucumber, half a lime and 2 slices of pineapple…

Ginger Cleanse
  • 1 apple
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • A chunk of ginger

Have a go at making one yourself. The beauty with juices, you can add extra ingredients as you choose and it’s a great way of using up what is in the fridge.

Juice your greens - Che IndieBerries

Juice your greens - Che IndieBerries Lime Eyes

Ché was having all sorts of fun playing with her food in the corner.

Juicing Time

Philips Juicer and Juice

The Philips juicers were easy to use, though I learnt a very valuable lesson. Make sure to peel your oranges before attempting to juice them. Our juice combinations were delicious (even yours Ché) and most were finished before our body conditioning class rather than saving them until after. Oops.

Speaking of which, I forgot to mention Derry is a professional Muay Thai kick boxer. Once we were finished juicing everything in sight at the Greenlight Digital offices, he took all of us across to Urban Kings where we were put through some challenging circuit training.

Urban Kings Gym Team Shot

This was our before photo while we were still fresh and smiling!

As we walked past a few guys sparring in the boxing ring, I knew Derry had a challenging workout ahead for us. To get our heart rate up and bodies warm, we were straight into side steps, high knees and floor sweeps in a circle around the outside of the mat area.

Happy with our warm-up, Derry split our group into two teams for our 30 minute body conditioning class. We had to race the other team while doing three rounds of circuit exercises:

  • 10 alternating lunges
  • 10 burpees
  • 10 squat press using kettle bells
  • 10 box step ups
  • 10 sandbag squats
  • 10 press ups, sandbag
  • 10 sumo squats using a kettle bell
  • 10 side hops over a bench
  • 5 sprints using an agility ladder

Needless to say, we were put through our paces and came out a lot more red in the face and sweatier than before we started. Great for strength and cardio fitness.

Blogger girls post workout

As well as catching up with old friends Lulu and Ché, it was great to meet other bloggers Siobahn, Emily and Ibbs.

Thanks to Joe’s Bloggers, Currys, Temple Training, Urban Kings and Philips for a fun and informative bloggers event. You can also read Currys’ write up of their #currysintrojuicing evening.

Green juices,

New Zealand Beach

Growing up in New Zealand meant always being close to water. No matter where you are in the country there is rugged coastline, breath-taking beaches, winding rivers, lakes or geo-thermal pools nearby. Long, hot summers are spent swimming, wakeboarding, wind surfing, fishing, tubing and discovering new swimming holes.

There is always an adventure to be had and fun in the water to be found. After a few attempts trying to surf, I also learnt that unfortunately I won’t be gracefully riding barrels and following in Kelly Slater’s footsteps anytime soon.

Croatia sun sea yacht_Smokova Vela Bay_Vis

Tubing on Nam Song River in Vang Vien_Laos

Having it ingrained in my upbringing, it’s not surprising that I love the water and any activities that involve being under, in, or on it. Now living in London – far from this previous lifestyle – holidays are often planned to warmer climate coastlines and beach destinations throughout Europe and Africa to get my water activity fix.

Water fun during my travels have included sailing in Croatia, parasailing in Fiji, snorkelling in Australia, tubing in Laos and jet skiing in Thailand, but it wasn’t until Vietnam that I discovered my ultimate water activity love. Scuba diving.

Sailing Club Divers_Learning to dive with Lucy_Nha Trang_Vietnam

Ready to dive_Nha Trang_Vietnam

After learning to scuba dive in Nha Trang, I was hooked. The world as I knew it was expanded and opened up to include a world underwater that I had never experienced. While snorkelling had given me a glimpse, nothing could prepare me for the incredible sights and encounters quietly waiting, metres below the ocean’s surface.

Clownfish Image © Amassard

Poisson Clown by Amassard under cc 2.0

Bright neon coloured fish and other sea creatures in all sorts of shapes and sizes swam around us, going about their day-to-day business. Not at all fussed that these masked, flippered creatures were out of place in their territory. My favourites were the Clown Fish (made famous by the movie Finding Nemo). This cheeky species is very nosy and not shy at checking divers out. Whole schools came within face-to-face distance and one even nibbled on Mike’s lip.

About to go diving Egypt

One of my most breathtaking encounters to date was while diving in the Red Sea during a holiday to Egypt last year. As we made our way into the water, the view that revealed itself was unbelievable. Note to self – never dive without an underwater camera.

We dropped down and swam alongside a steep vertical cliff face completely covered in coral. Looking up, the water got brighter with the sun reflecting on the surface, while looking down the water sunk into complete darkness keeping any marine life below well hidden in mystery.

The bright blue of the ocean against the wall of vibrant coral complimented and contrasted with the thousands upon thousands of orange Anthias (goldfish) completely surrounding us as far as the eye could see. There are many moments when traveling that nature mesmerises you with its beauty. This was certainly one of the most magic for me. I felt like I was in an aquarium. The goldfish enveloped us in every direction, all within reach. Their path only clearing ever so slightly to make way for us as we slowly ventured forward.

The dive was topped off with a giant Eagle Ray swimming a few metres above us. We watched speechless as it glided overhead, silhouetted against the sunlit surface. It was an experience I never wanted to end.

Every country and dive spot offers something completely different. No two places, or dives are the same, with different aquatic life, underwater geography and diving conditions. Each experience is unique, which makes it so special (and addictive).

Clownfish Image © Derek Keats

Diving by Derek Keats under cc 2.0 / saturated from original

I would love to dive with turtles and reef sharks one day and explore a shipwreck. Night and cave dives are also on the list. Hopefully my newfound love is the beginning of many more dive adventures around the world. The world underwater is a whole new way to travel.

*This is my entry to win an amazing scuba diving holiday to Malta with Lowcostholidays for #DiveIntoMalta.

Reflections and adventures,

Glastonbury sign viewing area worthy farm somerset

I recently returned from (and survived) my first festival. The Holy Grail of festivals. Glastonbury. For those who don’t know, Glastonbury is one of the world’s biggest and most loved festivals and for good reason.

After finally experiencing it for myself, I now know why. It rocks (excuse the pun). Without a doubt, it was one of the best experiences of my life. Mud, camping, rain and all.

We arrived on Wednesday morning to make sure our group all got to camp together. Lucky we did as the grounds were already getting quite full by early afternoon. We managed to secure a great spot while we waited for our other festival posse to arrive.

Setting up tent Glastonbury festival_South Park 2 field

Boys setting up Glastonbury festival_South Park 2 field

As the boys did their chivalrous man ‘thing’ setting up the tents, I enjoyed the glorious sunshine and my first beverage. Cheers boys! This Glastonbury business wasn’t so bad after all.

FYI: I did actually help set up the tents in between soaking up some rays and taking these photos.

Glastonbury festival South Park 2 field

Glastonbury festival viewing area worthy farm somerset views

Once more of the crew had arrived, we ventured off to the lounging & viewing area overlooking Glastonbury. We got a few snaps of the Glastonbury style Hollywood sign and looked out over worthy farm. The festival is seriously HUGE! I was beginning to feel like a kid at Christmas waiting for it to officially kick off in a couple of days time. Even though the music is on Friday to Sunday, there is still plenty to do during the lead up on Wednesday and Thursday.

Glastonbury Festival Goer Worthy Farm Somerset

Glastonbury fever and all the excitement of day one was clearly already too much for some with this poor guy becoming a human cup rest for his mates.

Glastonbury Festival Circus Superhero Worthy Farm Somerset

Cicus Stilt Walkers Glastonbury festival

The first couple of days were spent soaking up all the weird and wonderful of Glastonbury in all it’s glory. You easily slip into the daily festival routine – it truly is a world of its own with so much to take in.

Glastonbury Festival Arcadia Mechanical Spider Worthy Farm

Arcadia is possibly the coolest DJ booth around – a large mechanical spider that lights up, pumps music and shoots flames well into the early hours of the morning.

Live music, circus acts, acoustic sets, cafes, a rabbit hole, silent discos, bars, Shangri-La, the healing field, organic food, more bars, a lookout tower, crafts, workshops and then more food – there is not a need, or music taste left un-met, or a sensory function forgotten. Glastonbury has something for everyone. Last year, my Summer love was Croatia (check it out here), this year Glastonbury stole my heart.

Glastonbury festival Shisha bar

As we watched dark grey clouds roll in on day two, we took shelter in a nearby shisha cafe knowing we were experiencing what the festival has a well known reputation for (aside from the incredible music). Rain. Even when it did rain, it didn’t damper any spirits and luckily the sun was always quick to come out after the downpours.

Mud sliding at Glastonbury

Some even took a lot of joy sliding and rolling around in all the mud.

Greenpeace Polar Bear Glastonbury festival

We made the most of the first two nights roaming around Worthy Farm exploring as much as we could amongst the different fields – The Park, Shangri-La, Greenpeace and watching the opening fireworks in the Stone Circle.

From the moment we arrived it was clear Glastonbury was going to be an amazing experience. Looking at the programme, I wasn’t sure how it was going to be possible to fit in any sleep – there really is that much to see and do.

Boys op shopping Glastonbury festival

Just be careful letting boys shop in the vintage clothing buses on their own. You never known what treasured items you might get stuck with they might come out with.

Festival firsts,

Finish line with medal_Great Wall of China Marathon

The alarm jolted us awake at 4am. Was I dreaming? Had I really upgraded to the half marathon on the Great Wall from my initial 8.5km just two days earlier? Looking at my race outfit laid out on the floor next to me – my number already pinned to my running top – the large red ‘Half marathon’ sticker over my initial ‘Fun run’ one confirmed that, yes I most definitely had.

The nerves were kicking in with waves of excitement as we headed to the lobby where everyone was busy with last minute race preparations. At 5am we were on the bus headed back to Yin and Yang Square where the race started and finished. This is where we had been a couple of days earlier for The Great Wall of China: Pre-Race Inspection.

Pre Great Wall of China Half Marathon_Yin and Yang Square Huangyaguan

Warming up pre Great Wall of China Half Marathon_Yin and Yang Square Huangyaguan

Even though the weather was expected to get over 28 degrees during the race, arriving at 6am the weather was rather chilly. When we finally made our way into the square off the warmth of the bus (past a brass band playing Jingle Bells), the energy in the air was buzzing. Music was pumping and women on stage were warming up the crowd with exercises and stretches.

Pre Great Wall of China Half Marathon Runners_Yin and Yang Square Huangyaguan

Pre Great Wall of China Marathon Race_Yin and Yang Square

Looking at this photo of Mum and I before the race, I can still feel the nerves in my stomach!

All runners were assigned a starting wave depending on ability and previous race times. This made sure there were less bottle necks on the wall (some parts were single file) and that the more competitive runners didn’t have to spend time navigating through the slower runners (like myself).

Pre Great Wall of China Half Marathon Starting Chute_Yin and Yang Square Huangyaguan

We wished my Stepdad and Uncle luck as they set off in the first wave to compete in the full marathon, then my Aunt who was also doing the half, in a wave ahead of us. Finally it was time for Mike, Mum and I to line up in the starting chute.

Words don’t do justice to the mixture of feelings as we stood there looking up towards the Great Wall – it was exciting, scary and nerve wrecking. It was incredible. This was it. There was no turning back.

We were counted down, then everyone was off under the large ‘Start’ banner and down the road for the first kilometre. This is where we said goodbye to Mike as he took off ahead of us at a (slightly) faster pace.

Great Wall Of China Half Marathon

The next four kilometres were uphill to take us to the entrance of the Great Wall. Due to not wanting to burn out too early, or get a lactic acid build up, we walked this section which helped conserve energy for the remainder of the race.

My favourite part of the course without a doubt was the 3.5km section on the Great Wall. Even with 2,516 steps, which I ended up really enjoying. The views were incredible and I had to remind myself a few times to take in the surroundings and appreciate all of the experience.

Great Wall Of China Half Marathon_Village Children

The course was really well organised with plenty of stops containing water, bananas, sponges and electrolytes to keep hydration and energy levels up. Lots of local children were excited handing out water soaked sponges and water bottles to the runners as they passed. Many also put out their hands for high fives, which resulted in a lot of smiles from the children and runners.

The support from the locals was so encouraging. They lined the streets and village watching and cheering, which really pushed everyone to keep going. A lot also volunteered their time to help – the most impressive were those that had to carry all the water bottles and distribute along the Great Wall for all of us.

Great Wall Of China Half Marathon_Village and 17km mark

Another highlight was running through a local village as we got to see different sights, including a man walking his goats. It was a relief reaching the 17km mark out of the village. Knowing it was the home stretch and there was only 4km along the road back to the finish line was exhilarating. We were nearly done. We had nearly achieved completing the Great Wall half marathon! At that moment I knew it was doable. I could do this.

The last 2km were tough. The hardest of the race. My jog became more of a slow hobble, but I didn’t want to stop. I knew I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other. My body ached and my ankles hurt, but the knowledge of the nearing finish line kept me going.

Soon other runners were also cheering us on – having finished the race themselves, they came out to support other runners nearing the end. The extra push of encouragement at the end really helped and it was emotional running down the finishing chute with my Mum, hand in hand holding the New Zealand flag. The crowd was cheering and the smiles on our faces said it all as we crossed the finish line.

Great Wall Of China Marathon Finish Line with medal_Yin and Yang Square

Crossing the finish line with Mum, the feeling of achievement and self-pride was like nothing I had ever felt before. Just three days before the race I never would have thought that I could do it, then there I was, holding my medal after running The Great Wall Half Marathon 2014. Mike greeted me at the finish line and there were a few tears of joy and disbelief. Even typing this it still feels surreal – lucky I have the photos and medal as proof it actually happened.

Great Wall Of China Half Marathon_Finish Line

Great Wall Of China Marathon Finish Line_girls with medals_Yin and Yang Square

My Aunt, Mum and I looked surprisingly fresh after finishing!

Great Wall Of China Half Marathon_Runners Completing Finish Line

Great Wall Of China Marathon Finisher_Yin and Yang Square

We waited and cheered on many of the other participants as they crossed the finish line, which was truly inspiring. People of all sizes, shapes and ages competed and completed the race – there really is no one size fits all when it comes to marathon running. Anyone can do it.

Post race with new zealand flag_Great Wall of China Marathon

Being with family in China and running this half marathon with my Mum to celebrate her 50th, is such a special memory. She continues to inspire me to push my own comfort zones and without her adventurous nature there are so many things I wouldn’t have experienced in my life. Thanks Mum!

So proud of my Stepdad who came third in the marathon and for the rest of us for completing such an memorable challenge. You really can achieve whatever you set your mind to. It took me 3 hours, 28 minutes to complete the 21km, which I was pretty happy with considering I had only decided to do the race two days before with very little training.

It was hot and it was hard – both physically and mentally. Would I do it again? Without a doubt. The race was fantastic and the marathon runners inspired me to want to achieve the full marathon… One day.

I can only imagine what future birthdays bring.

Milestone memories,