FIVE

Before I start this blog, I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has commented on my last blogs, to the people who have sent me emails and to the new followers of my blog. I really appreciate all of you. And I love reading comments on my blogs, so please feel free to comment!

 

 

So.. what has happened since I last posted a blog? I started my third year of university and my first term is nearly finished. 2017 is nearly over. It’s nearly Christmas (!). And I ran my first ultramarathon!!

 

Running my first ultramarathon was such a huge achievement for me. I never thought I would ever be able to run a distance like that let alone in the Scottish Highlands where my Dad and I ran it in October. We ran ours with a company called “Running the Highlands”. They were fantastic and they do a range of marathons, ultramarathons and running weekends for all abilities. A few of you reading this may have seen some pictures of this on my Instagram (@flothefoodie) but I will post a few more on here. It was extremely picturesque but was absolutely freezing, we might as well have been in Antarctica!

 

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(This is my Dad and I on Saturday. This is a Sub4 long sleeve running top and classic black Sweaty Betty leggings)

 

We completed the run over three days because of the weather and the sheer distance. So, on Friday, the distance was a little over 10 miles in the highlands and the pouring rain. Let’s just say, we were extremely grateful for the warm hotel when we got back! I thought the first day was hard but nothing prepared me for Saturday. We were woken up at 7, given a pretty good breakfast (to be fair) but we were then bundled into a minibus in freezing temperatures. Our driver then stopped on the side of the road after 30 minutes, pointed to the top of the highest mountain I’ve ever seen (maybe a slight exaggeration) and said, “that’s where you’re running to this morning. Good luck!”. It was at this point that I decided I was going to try and hide in the minibus for the day. However, this somehow did not work.

 

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(This is a photo of the group we ran with for the weekend)

 

The route we ran was around 23 miles and covered 5 munros (like mountains), with the highest point being Lochnagar at around 3780ft. It took us around 8 hours.. yes, 8 HOURS. The views almost made up for the distance and time by taking place in Cairngorms National Park, starting and finishing at the Spittal of Glenmuick. They were stunning but I did feel on the verge of collapsing from the 18th mile onwards. At this point, I was just wishing I had drunk one more coffee that morning.

 

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(These photos just give you an idea of the heights we reached and a little idea of the weather!)

 

It’s safe to say, that I woke up on Sunday morning unable to get out of bed, let alone walk or run anywhere. I couldn’t even lift my legs to get myself into the minibus… Sunday was meant to be an “easy” 8/9 miles (which I was told was flat but it most definitely was not). Once I got over the crippling pain from the day before, the running became easier by mile 4 and 5. The location was very pretty because we were running around a lake in Aboyne and for once, the sun was actually shining, providing a little warmth.

 

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I have to say, all I could think about when I saw the minibus at the end was relief but mostly.… food. I just wanted mac ‘n’ cheese, chocolate, a burger (or plural)! To be honest, I was craving anything and everything. I still can’t quite believe that I managed to run that far and I don’t think I ever will be able to again but I’m so happy to be able to say that I have done it.

 

I say this, but I am running the London Marathon next year on 22nd April which isn’t quite as far but far enough for me! I am running the marathon to raise money for a charity called ActionHeart (www.actionheart.com). This is a charity that my Grandma works for which works to rehabilitate heart attack patients through exercise. As it gets closer to the marathon, I am going to put my GoFundMe link on my Instagram and blog if anyone would be willing to donate.

 

Quite a few people asked me about what I was wearing during my ultramarathon. I wore my new Brooks trail shoes and Sweaty Betty leggings every day and my running tops were a mixture of Sub4 and Nike. A warm, oversized Zara hoodie was also essential to change into after each run due to the sub-zero temperatures!

 

I was really nervous before I started it and I have to say, part of me really didn’t want to do it, but I am now so glad I did. I am very proud of completing it and it’ll definitely be a weekend to remember! If you’re ever thinking of doing one, please do it. You will not regret it.

 

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“Running the Highlands”, I think I’ll be back for another weekend trip. Scotland, I will most certainly be back. But until then.

 

Flo xxx

SUMMER

Hi! This is my fourth blog and I know I haven’t posted in a while but I have had a crazy few months.

I thought I would talk to you about my summer and the start of my third year at university.

Before I get into my summer, I wanted to tell you all about my Instagram. Lots of people have been asking about my photos. All my photos are taken on my iPhone 6s and are edited using VSCO, again on my phone. I do not use a camera at all!

Back to Summer. So, after my trip to New Zealand, I had a few days at home to relax. I then started getting ready for my family holiday. We decided to do a bit of a road trip around Europe. We started in Stockholm, Sweden where we stayed for three nights. We stayed on one of the islands and took a boat into the centre every day. A few people asked on my Instagram page (@flothefoodie) which hotel I stayed in. I stayed in Hotel J on the Nacka Strand and I highly recommend it!

Here, we went to the Photography, Nobel and ABBA Museum but the food really took the first prize. We had some amazing meals here, including lots of traditional Swedish cuisine (loads of fish!).

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My favourite tradition in Sweden is “fika”. It is a concept in Swedish culture with the basic meaning ‘to have coffee’, often accompanied with pastries, cookies or pie. Doesn’t this just sound amazing?!

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Stockholm had lots of amazing restaurants but one feature that I really loved was how sociable they all were. Most of them were made up of long tables where we all squished together inviting strangers to meet and talk to each other. It obviously didn’t work for the couple in this picture….

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The next stop was Germany. We weren’t there for very long because it was just a drive-through but it was still fun!

Then, it was onto Sölden, Austria. We have skied here before so it was great to experience the same place in summer. Austria was filled with activities: mountain biking, water sports, hiking, running and swimming.

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Austria is a great country for our family because you can relax by the pool or get stuck into loads of activities high up in the mountains. We went to a great water sports centre based on a lake called ‘Area 47’ which I highly recommend. There are diving boards, water slides, water skiing, trampolining and everything in between!

The lake we visited was called Piburg. It is surrounded by mountains and is the most beautiful place ever! There were boats to hire, diving platforms and a great restaurant on the shore, I definitely recommend.

The third picture in the slideshow above is a hike that I did with my Dad from the ICE restaurant (from James Bond) down to Sölden. Halfway down is a beautifully clear, bright blue (but freezing cold!) lake. It provided a perfect lunch spot!

The next stop was Trieste, Italy which was gorgeous. We had great weather, great accommodation and of course, great food. Italian food is probably my favourite cuisine and it didn’t disappoint. From there, we drove through Slovenia and Bosnia to reach Dubrovnik, Croatia. We stayed in the beautiful Sun Gardens resort.

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Croatia was our “chill out” spot. We lounged by the pool, on the beach and in every restaurant the hotel had to offer. The food was insane. We went to Dubrovnik for a few evenings and had some great meals with incredible views.

We spent one of our days in Dubrovnik on the island of Lokrum, better known as where Game of Thrones is filmed. This day consisted mostly of cliff jumping, sunbathing and eating gelato – my perfect day.

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Croatia was beautiful, peaceful and relaxing. We did do a few water sports like jet skiing, snorkelling and swimming but there was also a lot of chilling by the pool and sunbathing. It was the perfect way to end our holiday and my summer.

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So now.. I’m back at university after finishing an internship in a cancer research lab in Newcastle. I have finished my first week of lectures and the work is starting to kick in! I love my new house and the people I live with, I feel like this is going to be my favourite year at university and I don’t want it to end.

But bring it on! Work hard and play hard.

 

And just something to think about… “Dreams and dedication are a powerful combination.”

Flo xx

 

Breakfast

Hi! This is now my third blog and I thought I’d talk about breakfast.

I get sent a lot of questions about my breakfasts. I get asked about low carb, low GI, low sugar options etc. so thought that I should write a blog about it.

First of all, breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. It wakes you up, it’s very important for cognitive function and gives you energy to start your day. I think that a great breakfast makes for a great day.

Eating breakfast has been proven to have long term health benefits. It can reduce obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Breakfast has always been a meal that I struggle with, especially at home. I always try to have a low carb breakfast but the rest of my family don’t so I have to make a completely separate meal to them which can cause some problems.

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I thought I would share my typical breakfasts:

  • Porridge topped with dried/fresh fruit, honey, low sugar jam or cinnamon
  • Scrambled/poached/boiled eggs usually with one slice of wholegrain bread (or avocado if I don’t want bread)
  • Avocado (smashed) on one slice of wholegrain toast with tomatoes or eggs or halloumi (or all three if I’m hungry!)
  • Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon
  • Yoghurt with fresh or dried fruit and usually with seeds
  • Mackerel either with eggs or on its own
  • Fresh fruit salad
  • Low GI granola (I always have Lizi’s) with skimmed milk or yoghurt
  • 2 sausages with scrambled eggs and/or tomatoes/mushrooms
  • Mushrooms on one slice of wholegrain toast
  • Omelette (I try to pack loads of vegetables in an omelette especially tomatoes and spinach)
  • Poached eggs with wilted spinach
  • One slice of toast with some kind of nut butter (I love peanut and almond)
  • Crumpets
  • Fruit smoothie

Now I thought I would share some healthy tips that you can add to any breakfast:

  • Incorporate wholegrain foods e.g. oats and cereals because they keep you feeling fuller for longer.
  • Combine carbohydrates with protein. Protein sources can include milk, eggs, yoghurt, nuts and lean meat.
  • Get some of your ‘5-a-day’ in your breakfast. Try baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes or vegetables in your breakfast.
  • Stay hydrated. Always have a drink with your breakfast. Try water, fruit juice or herbal tea. Coffee and tea are hydrating but not as much as water because of their caffeine content.
  • Build your breakfast into a routine. You should try and work breakfast into your morning routine especially in the first two hours after you wake up because that is when you feel the benefit of breakfast the most.
  • If you want to add sweetness to your breakfast, use fresh or dried fruit instead of sugar.
  • Your breakfast should consist of 20-35% of your guideline daily allowance of calories.

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Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you have a great day!

Flo xxx

New Zealand

Hi there! This is my second blog and I thought I’d talk about my recent trip to New Zealand.

I was in New Zealand for a month recently over June and July. I travelled from Auckland to Queenstown in a campervan with one of my best friends, Henri. We spent one week in the North Island and three weeks in the South. One of my best friends from home, Helena, moved out to New Zealand around 7 years ago and the last time I saw her was two years ago when she came to England to surprise me. My main aim of this trip was to see her and her family who live in Christchurch.

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(I am on the right, Helena is on the left)

So first, we stayed in Auckland, hiked to Cathedral Cove and stayed in a place called Hahei where we found the best beach I have ever been to. We got up early to walk to the beach and we were the only people there – just perfect.

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(Photo credits to Henri. You should check out his Instagram page @earthtohenri)

Henri is a pretty big fan of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit so on our second day, we visited the movie set at Hobbiton. I’m not a super fan but I absolutely loved it, I recommend it!

The rest of our time in the North Island consisted of going to Mount Taranaki, Dawson Falls, Emerald Lakes, Huka Falls and Wellington. Then on our 6th day, we caught the ferry from Wellington to Picton to start our journey in the South Island.

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(Photo credits: Henri)

Our time in the South Island started off a little rocky… Our car kept stalling (the car is automatic!) and would cut out at completely random times. We spent the whole of our first day at the garage but had no luck. We were in Golden Bay now so it was annoying that we were stuck in a garage in such a gorgeous location. However, we managed to get an amazing campsite in Pohara right on the beach. We managed to time it perfectly for sunset too.

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Next, we travelled to Pupu Springs and did the Pupu Hydro Walk, then drove to Nelson for the night. The next day, we drove to Lake Rotoiti which has the most famous jetty in New Zealand and ended our day in Hanmer Springs. We went to the hot springs in the evening which was great timing because all the fairy lights were up in the town centre and it all looked really pretty.

The next day was the most exciting for me because we drove to Christchurch to see my best friend, Helena. I was so excited; that Henri was getting annoyed at me screaming in the car! She gave us a tour of Christchurch and took us to a very cool restaurant (called C1) where the food is delivered to you from tubes in the ceiling. I couldn’t recommend it more, it was amazing! The next few days consisted of staying around Christchurch, going out to some amazing restaurants including Casa Publica and a Thai restaurant that is secretly hidden behind a laundrette. Helena lives in Sumner, a town just on the outskirts of Christchurch which is absolutely beautiful and right on the beach. It also has Burger Stop which sells amazing burgers. I loved it so much that I posted a picture on my Instagram.

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Whilst I stayed in Christchurch, Helena and I ran up to the ‘Sign of the Kiwi’. It took us around 2 hours to run to the top but it was so worth it for the amazing view (I also posted this on my Instagram).

Then the weather took a turn for the worse… a snow storm hit the South Island. We managed to drive to our next location which was Lake Tekapo but we got stuck there for three days! We managed to find things to do including more hot pools, a lot of coffee shops and walking around the lake but we did get a little bit bored. Luckily, our friends from Christchurch were passing through and gave us some snow chains for our campervan. This meant we could drive to Mount Cook finally!

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Mount Cook was amazing, especially because we arrived for sunset. I left the accommodation to Henri this night and when we turned up, I realised that Henri had booked for us to stay on a sheep farm. It looked like somewhere out of a horror film! Luckily we arrived quite late and left first thing in the morning but we just stayed in our room the whole time.

From there, we drove to the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers and onto Wanaka. We went out for a great meal in Wanaka at a place called Trout (I recommend). I also recommend a restaurant called Relish – it’s a little expensive, but definitely worth it!

I had been thinking about buying a GoPro for about a year before New Zealand but never did because I was too worried about saving enough money for the trip. I very nearly bought one in Wanaka but finally did it in Queenstown which was our last stop on the trip. This meant I could film all of the fun activities we did whilst in Queenstown.

Our biggest adventure of the whole trip was a sunrise hike we did up the famous Mount Roy. We left our house at 2am to drive an hour and a half to the start of the track. We bought head torches, lots of snacks and water and wrapped up warm. It took us nearly 5 hours to reach the peak where the snow was up to our waist but the view was absolutely incredible. We reached the peak just in time to watch the sun rise behind the mountains over Lake Wanaka. It was perfect, my favourite moment of the whole trip. And what made it better is that it burnt nearly 2000 calories and all before midday!

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(Photo credits to Henri)

After Mount Roy, we headed back to Queenstown and chilled for a couple of days. Whilst in Queenstown, I didn’t eat particularly healthy. There is a restaurant in Queenstown called Fergburger that sells the best burger in the world. I’m not joking! So of course, I had to get one. The rest of our time in Queenstown consisted of going out for nice meals (including amazing ice cream at Patagonia) and shopping.

However, one day we decided to do something else… The Nevis Swing. This is the highest swing in the world at 150m above the ground. It has a 70m free fall and a 300m arc. It was one of the scariest but most exhilarating activities I have ever done. Well worth the money and I would definitely recommend doing it if you are in Queenstown.

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(This aren’t a great photos because it’s a screenshot from a video. In the second photo, you can just about see us being “dropped”. In the future, I might post a small video of the whole thing on @flothefoodie)

Queenstown was where we ended our trip and we flew home the day after doing the swing. Our flights were delayed on the way home and we missed 2 connections and 2 trains but we got home in the end! It really was a trip of a lifetime and I definitely won’t forget it.

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Thanks for taking the time to read this blog, I hope you have a great day.

Flo xx

 

P.S. Say YES to new adventures.

 

First Blog

So here goes… this is my first blog post!

I just wanted to use this blog to introduce myself. So… my name is Florence (although I liked to be called Flo) and my Instagram page is @flothefoodie. My interest in health and fitness began around the age of 15 when I decided to change my lifestyle because I needed to lose weight. I then started to document this on Instagram in January 2017 and have loved doing it so decided to start this blog.

I am a university student at Newcastle studying Biomedical Sciences, where my interest in health and fitness has continued. I cook for myself at university and like to cook a variety of meals. I am a keen runner and run a lot at university as well as going to the gym. I have a great gym about 2 doors down from my house in Newcastle so never have an excuse not to go! To try and run or go to the gym before my lectures start usually means that I get up around 5am but I am definitely a morning person so it doesn’t bother me too much.

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At home, I run a lot outdoors as well as on our treadmill. We also have a cross-trainer which is great for when I want to do a less intense workout, it’s raining or I am injured. Eating healthily at home is quite easy because my family are relatively healthy too but we do enjoy a treat every now and then. My Dad is a very keen runner and has participated in lots of races, marathons and half marathons. I like to run with him but he is way too fast for me so it depends on how I’m feeling! In October, my Dad and I are going on a running holiday in the Three Dee Glens in Scotland. We have to run on all three days: 8 miles on Friday, 20 miles on Saturday followed by 12 miles on Sunday. It is going to be some of the toughest runs I have ever done! We are then running the London Marathon in 2018 which is something that has been on my bucket list for ages and I can’t wait to do.

I also love to travel. I have just come back from spending a month in New Zealand which was amazing. I’m now heading to Sweden, Austria, Italy and Croatia in a few weeks which is going to be great. I like to eat healthily on holiday and try to run as much as I can or go to a gym if I’m staying in a hotel. I may write another blog about my time in New Zealand and my next trip but I’ll see how this goes first.

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A bit about my personality… I find it really hard to describe myself so instead, I asked my brothers and my Dad to each describe me in three words and this is what they said: hardworking, funny, caring, kind, organised, ambitious, determined, patient and loyal. I love spending time with my family and always look forward to coming home in my university holidays. We do lots of fun activities together such as paragliding, rugby, go-karting, cliff jumping, snowboarding and other things as well as going on some amazing holidays.

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I really enjoyed writing this post and I hope you enjoyed reading it! I want to write about a variety of topics including health, food, fitness, beauty and travel. So stay tuned!

Flo x