What I Wore: Made To Measure

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Vietnam, well Hoi An specifically is well known for tailoring. You can have pretty much anything made, copied or duplicated and if you bargain hard, for a very reasonable price. We spent quite a lot of time having things made- especially Tom who had suits made for work and a coat replicated from an old one that had all but worn through. This was in essence a test piece for me, as I wasn't in the market for as much formal wear as Tom, and I have to say, I still smile when I see it hanging in the wardrobe and think of our trip.


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Dress, made for me in Vietnam
Blue heels, Clarks Chorus Voice (2014) 
Mouse flat shoes, With Love From Hetty & Dave

I've been wearing it with both flats and heels as you can see. Being an idiot, I've just realised I forgot to take a close up picture of the fabric which is tiny little blue interlocked "C's. A Bit of a Chanel-alike but given my name is Chloe, it still seems fitting.

Now, if the rain that's pouring down this morning could just disappear off, then I might get a bit more wear out of this very summery dress....

Summer Running: 5 Essential Items

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Last summer I was marathon training, and now I understand why many people prefer to train through the winter, however dark or cold or wet it may be. What might not seem like an especially warm day suddenly seemed sweltering as soon as I started a run- however easy the pace. Spring and summer running seems to be a special skill all of its own for that reason, and overheating or running in extreme heat without proper consideration is dangerous. Having learned a lot about how I can manage summer running, here's my 5 essentials...

Summer Running Essentials

1. Summer Activewear

So short shorts might not be for everyone, but if you wear too much heavy clothing, you'll get hot quickly, if the fabric isn't designed to wick the moisture away from your skin you may have issues with chafing as well as controlling your body temperature and none of this makes for enjoyable summer running. Shorts, 1/2 or 3/4 capris, technical t-shirts and vest tops are your friend and they needn't be super expensive. The shorts pictured came from Fabletics at £23 for both the shorts and a sports bra, the top is from H&M and comes in variety of colours and prints each season for £8. I 3 or 4 in various colours.

2. Sunglasses

Sunglasses don't just protect your eyesight from sun damage, but when you're out and about they provide a barrier against flying debris on roads or trails, dust, dirt and pollen. These were £1.99 from Aldi a few weeks back. If you suffer allergies or hayfever, sunglasses really should be your best friend second only to your antihistamines at this time of year!

3. Sunscreen

It has taken years for me to find a sun cream that doesn't irritate my skin and cause break-outs. The joys of the modern world and the internet mean that oil free or other specialist skin-type sun cream is as easy to buy as dropping into your local Boots or Superdrug. My pick for oily skin is La Roche Posay Anthelios XL. Shout out to Escentual.com from whom these sample sized tubes came (free with an order), and where you can buy a myriad of different types of sun cream to suit your skin type for under £20. If you're outside, you should be wearing sunscreen and that becomes even more important if you spend longer periods outdoors whilst exercising. Don't get caught out or burnt.

La Roche Posay Sunscreen

4. Hydration Tablets

I have talked before about drinking too much water, and hydration is really important when you exercise, regardless of the season or temperature, BUT when it's hot, you're likely to sweat more, and drink more water, this means you are sweating out salt and flushing through electrolytes, but you're not replacing them with anything. Dissolvable tabs (these ones are Science in Sport Lemon flavour) are a convenient addition to your water bottle, and give a needed boost in salt & electrolytes to help replenish them.

5. Smile

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Yes, it's sweaty, and yes it can feel challenging to balance hydration and nutrition but getting out of the door is easier when it's sunny and dry, the days are longer both at the start and the end giving more time to enjoy a run in daylight, there's plenty of fun races to aim for and you can work on a killer sun tan. There's a lot to love about summer running.

5 Working Lunches

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I basically work from home away from home. At this time of year I generally spend Sunday night to Friday afternoon living with my parents (with whom I work) and working from our on-site office, and if I'm not working there, then I work from home. It means I don't have to prep my lunch the night before to take into work, or worry about transporting it, but I do still have to fight for my kitchen space and think ahead. I also used to work in a more conventional office space at a time when Tom & I were strapped for cash and therefore taking my lunch to work was a necessity.

So, with that in mind, yes, these are on proper plates or eaten from a dining table not a desk, but this is a small collection of my favourite working lunches which would work equally taken to work in a box as they can be prepped the night before (or multiple evenings if bulk prep is your thing) don't have to be heated and don't have a high liquid content...

1. Crispy Chickpea & Soft Boiled Egg Salad

Lunch. Eaten in stages because phone calls and a zillion messages on the business phones. Can it be 1900 already please?! If what I eat intrigues you, I posted a 'what I eat in a day' blog last week. Search Chloe Likes To Eat or click link in bio. #workin

Chickpeas roasted in a half teaspoon of coconut oil, garlic powder & salt for approx 30 mins at 200C (leave to cool to ensure they stay crispy)
Shredded spinach, half an avocado sliced, cherry tomatoes & 2 soft boiled eggs. Toss the avocado and spinach together with a decent shake of lemon juice for flavour, but especially if you're prepping ahead to stop the avocado browning.

2. Hot Smoked Salmon Burger Bowl

Hot Smoked Salmon Burger

Remember my hot smoked salmon burger recipe (available HERE)? Add it to a bowl full of shredded spinach (yes, I eat a lot of spinach, it's good for iron content and I like that I can eat it hot or cold), sliced tomatoes & half a slice avocado topped off with toasted mixed seeds. Mine is topped with sriracha sauce but this would also be nice topped with a spoonful of natural yoghurt & sriracha.

3. Cauliflower Fritter Bowl

Cauliflower fritter style burger things. Really need to come up with a better name for these, but they're a tasty add on to my lunch time salad.

My Cauliflower Fritter recipe (hint: cheese, ground nuts & garlic give these an awesome pack of flavour) is team up with old favourites spinach, avocado and seeds here but would be amazing with roasted peppers, onions and tomatoes stirred through with lettuce or spinach. Avocados are high in fibre and the fats that are necessary in all our diets, so although everyone is forever Instagramming them (on toast), there's a good reason to eat them regularly.

4. Stuffed Aubergines

Completely under estimated how long this beauty would take to cook- whole aubergine stuffed with spinach, tomato, garlic, cream cheese and feta.

Remember these stuffed aubergines? They're just as tasty cold. Check out the recipe post HERE.

5. The Ultimate Sandwich

Epic post 10mile run brunch- bacon, egg & avocado sandwich on my dad's awesome bread.

I still salivate when I think about this sandwich- if you know you've got a busy or an active afternoon forthcoming, this is for you! Homemade granary bread, a 1 egg omelette, bacon (or ham would work just fine) & mashed avocado. Seasoned with Dijon mustard. You know you want to.

A New Challenge

Sunday, May 22, 2016

My blog serves as a bit of a living document of some of the changes I've seen in myself and my lifestyle through my twenties. I started my blog when I was almost 21, and in two weeks’ time, I'll be 27- undeniably well into my twenties. I've graduated (twice), moved 13 times, lived in 3 countries, met a man who changed my life, and agreed to marry him. I've had gym memberships, there was a period where I used to swim daily but by and large, I was quite sedentary in the first half of my third decade on the planet, and that is something that's changed very significantly too. I posted a retrospect back in February- 3 years on from setting on two wheels, last year I ran a marathon, and then some. I'm currently rehab-ing my shoulder after getting a bit too carried away with weight training back in March, I joined a running club, I have more sports clothing than will fit in a drawer that is the entire width of my double wardrobe.

L:2016 R:2015. I don't look that different but a marathon and 100km in races later... It sure feels different.
Now vs Then 2015 vs 2016


So it's only fitting that a new challenge that has come about largely thanks to my blog, is announced right here on my blog...

I'm have a place for the London Ride100.

For the uninitiated, the Ride100 is a closed road, 100 mile route out of London, through Surrey and back into London that follows the 2012 Olympic ride route.I've never been successful in securing a place via the ballot, which I enter *just in case* I actually get a place, never truly believing I might. it's a unique chance to ride closed roads around and into London, so it's a chance worth taking. This year, I'm riding thanks to the people at Skoda, who I didn't realised started life in cycling, the whole motorised 4 wheel thing came later.

The furthest I've ever ridden in one go is about 140km. That's 86 miles and I haven't ridden over 40km in one go since the autumn. I think it would be fair to say there's training to do!

Never felt so deserving of an ice cream. Kudos to my friend for an awesome recommendation- Rossi's Westcliff
Post Rapha Womens 100 ice cream. 100km London-Southend on a single speed bike!

Realising that these things take training is almost amusing, given that back in 2014 I rode from London to Cambridge (about 120km) on a single speed bike, having never ventured further than 10 miles up Regent's Canal. But a very important lesson learned over the last 12 months is that adequate training saves a lot of injury related heartache. My 'plan' is to build up mileage with gentle rides each week, and to try and factor in a couple of jaunts to some more undulating terrain than the fens can offer, because the Ride100 route isn't all flat, it's no good thinking I'll be able to manage Box Hill without some practice.

New challenges like this are the most exciting thing for an adult who has suddenly realised the joy you can find in appreciating just how strong you are. The realities of training sometimes grind me down and leave me wondering why I torture myself with endless things that are *hard*, but this is the puppy phase- it's all new, exciting and I'm optimistic.
I won't be racing the Ride100 route, I don't have the time to give to the additional cycling that would be required each week between now and July 31st to bring me even close to amateur racing levels. I will be flying the flag for all the other active women out there, like me- who enjoy experiencing the strength and the power of their bodies, the ones who never thought they might, could or would be able to cycle down the high street, run for the bus or swing a kettlebell. We weren't all on the school sports teams, and we didn't all hit the gym all through our college days. We didn't all know how to fit exercise in around entry level jobs, overtime and trying to work out if we could afford to go our for dinner on a Saturday night as well as pay the rent. But that doesn't mean we can't find our pace, our style and we are stronger for it.

I hope you'll join me on the Ride100 training journey- I'll be trying to post regular updates as I roll my way through June and July and there'll be a run down of the day itself for anyone who is thinking about putting themselves into the ballot or securing a charity place for 2017 for something different.

Despite rain all day, it's turned into a great evening for a longer run. I just didn't think I'd still need my @hellyhansen winter kit in late April still! #thisgirlcanrunning #thisgirlcan #girlswhorun

Let's DO this. 

#chloerides100


Spring Favourites: Navy & Pink

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ah May. Spring. Almost summer even. And yet I'm staring out at rain and having to re-jig my weekend running and cycling plans because there's yet more of the wet stuff due. On the plus side, it is at least warm enough for some lighter layers, so here's a few current favourites along a very navy theme.

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Denim leggings. White denim leggings at that. And I love them. They feel instantly summery and as well as being cheap and cheerful at £7 from Primark, they're a joy for laundry purposes as they dry way quicker than 'proper' jeans.

I'm also easily lead by a stripe... can you tell. The navy one is a loose fitting H&M knit joyfully casual and great for packing as it doesn't seem to crease! The long sleeve cream version is an old Primark version, but there's often something similar in stock.

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Shoes! I love pale and blush pinks against navy palettes and for spring. I had these flats made in Vietnam from a standard shoe they had on display. I think they're supposed to be a copy of a ChloƩ design, I just quite liked them.

The camisole top you might recognise from my autumnal post about navy (sense the theme? It's only because normally I'm a black & grey kinda girl...). Yes, those are cats printed on it!

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Navy. Pink. Stripes. My current spring favourites. Now if the climate would just mirror that of Southern France and I'll be well away...