LVB’s London Marathon Training 2017 – Week 5

Distance clocked this week: 33 miles. 5 runs. I’ve been mixing up running in the mornings with some cross training in the evening to ensure I get my miles in.

Long run: 14 miles. This week, on a particularly chilly day, I completed the Gayton 10k run then ran 8 miles home. The race was in a super pretty countryside setting  with some of those hills I love so much. The 8 mile run home was also really enjoyable as it took me through some gorgeous villages and had some great views.

Nutrition: Salads, soups and smoothies as well as tons of fruit and veggies with the odd treat thrown in there as always. Also, rediscovered my love for quinoa, which is a powerhouse of protein.

What am I listening to? Another running podcast that I’ve recently discovered is Dirt in Your Skirt. Host Margaret Schlachter talks to some amazing female athletes, runners and adventurers. Incredibly inspiring.

Cross Training: This week, as well as continuing with my strength training, I went to a Body Balance class (mix of yoga and pilates) and a Spin class.

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Lessons Learnt : Races really are fun! By including a 10k race in my long run, it helped the time go by and also made it more enjoyable to not have to worry about the route and run with others. I also got one of my best 10k times, even though I wasn’t focusing on my pace at all. Hopefully, this shows that my cross training and Run club are paying off.

You can find my previous week’s training diary here.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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LVB’s London Marathon Training 2017 – Week 4

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Distance clocked this week: 30 miles. 5 runs.  Tough run with the running club as the pace was faster than I’m used to. It felt good to push myself and see that I could keep up but my hamstring wasn’t best pleased.

Long run: 12.5 miles. Quite possibly one of the worst runs I’ve ever had. Got lost,  had to manoeuvre around multiple icy puddles, climbed over fences, clambered up steep hills  and ended up in the middle of a driving range. Throw in some rain and sleet and it was not the happiest of times. Still, looking back, it was kind of fun.

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Nutrition: I’ve done pretty well this week with my nutrition. Breakfasts have been smoothies or porridge, lunches have been mainly salads and dinners vegetable stew, lentils and a rather delicious buddha bowl.

What am I listening to? Happier Podcast based on Gretchen Ruben’s wonderful book The Happiness Project. It focuses on how to know yourself better and everyday ways of enhancing your life.

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Cross Training: Continuing with strength training at the gym, adding in some bike and rowing which I’ve really enjoyed.

Lessons Learnt : Check the route before going out on long runs. Also, I am capable of more than I think as I can push myself to a faster pace when around others. Predictable!

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You can find my previous week’s training diary here.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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Nature and Nurture Vegan Skincare Review

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I think I have found my new favourite Skincare brand. Nature and Nurture are all about the benefits of natural skincare using sustainably sourced ingredients and with no synthetic nasties. The catalyst for this new brand was the discovery of the damage that the palm oil industry is doing to our environment and their beautiful inhabitants.

For example, did you know that Indonesia alone has destroyed an area of rainforest as large as Germany to make way for oil-palm plantations? This often occurs through burning the forest and everything in it to the ground. In 2006, oil-palm workers clubbed to death 1500 orangutans to make way for plantations. All this information and more can be found on the Nature and Nurture website.

This shocking discovery spurred Nature and Nurture to develop an eco friendly and effective range that works just as well as the mainstream brand’s offering and I have to say they didn’t disappoint. The products feel luxurious to use and the packaging is sophisticated and something you might see in a fancy hotel.. What’s more a portion of every sale goes to the Orangutan Foundation.

Wrinkle Repair Night Serum £25

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I’ve not really used a night serum before and I loved the experience. It has a sweet smelling, subtly fruit scent due to the apricot oil. I applied it after my moisturiser and left it to sink in over night.  It felt super nourishing for my skin, like I was giving it an extra treat.

Instant Lift Eye Gel £19

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As my under eyes have always been a problem area for me, I was really excited to use this product. Containing aloe vera, chamomile and cucumber extract, these are known to soothe tired eyes and reduce puffiness. I definitely felt that the area felt more mositurised and look forward to seeing if they will affect my dark circles in the weeks to come.

Youth Protect Moisturiser £22

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Having gotten used to using a cream based moisturiser, I was interested to try out this product which is much more gel like in consistency. I found it to be nourishing for my skin and immediately made it feel super soft.

Derma-Renew Exfoliating Cleaser

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I was expecting this product to have a rougher consistency but in actual fact, it was very gentle on my skin. Instead of using those controversial plastic beads, the cleanser contains naturally derived apricot kernels. It was a joy to use and left my skin feeling clean and rejuvenated.

My verdict? Even though the range is a little on the pricey side in comparison to the products I have been using, I would say they are totally worth the extra money for the use of quality, sustainable products and also, to know that you are benefiting the environment by choosing this brand.

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Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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Wildlife Wednesday – Eco Sapien Interview

Something different for this week’s Wildlife Wednesday. An interview with the wonderful Phil J. Taylor and David Bodenham from Eco Sapien.  If you haven’t heard of this fantastic enterprise, let me educate you. They are on a mission to stop biodiversity loss around the world. They are doing this through educational programmes, their Youtube channel and holding events in the UK. Read on and prepare to be inspired.

1.How did Eco Sapien get started and how would you describe your enterprise? 

Eco Sapien grew from two journeys to contrasting locations. David headed to North Ronaldsay, in Orkney, a cluster of islands off the north coast of Scotland. Filming migrant birds, seal colonies, and an interesting breed of sheep that eats mostly seaweed, he produced an ambitious three-part documentary about the island’s history and its wildlife. Phil, meanwhile, ventured over five thousand kilometres south to the dry tropical forest of Madagascar, in search of lemurs, chameleons, and the incredible giraffe-necked weevil, and produced a cheap and cheerful series of documentaries that would eventually become Eco Sapien’s video ‘Madagascar: The real King Julian.

On our return home, our respective documentaries caught each other’s attention and David approached Phil with the idea for a new YouTube channel to promote the importance of biodiversity. After weeks of script writing, filming and editing, Eco Sapien went live on YouTube, championing the value of bees.

2. What services do you offer at Ecosapien?

Education: We run interactive workshops for primary schools and adult audiences. Our aim is to make the workshops as interactive and engaging as possible, so in addition to an illustrated talk, we encourage audience participation, question-and-answer sessions, and run various fun activities throughout. 

Resources: We offer a variety of free resources, including videos, info packs, infographics and articles. Our videos are one of the core elements of our organisation. 

Shop: Finally there is also the Eco Sapien shop where we sell a variety of books, branded clothing, and photographic prints.

2. What is biodiversity and why is it so important?

Biodiversity actually means lots of different things. Biodiversity is short for biological diversity, and the official definition is: “it’s the variety of life on earth and its natural processes.” So what do we mean by that?

Biodiversity can be different ecosystems, from your local pond, to the Great Barrier Reef. Biodiversity can also be genetic variation. And of course biodiversity refers to all the creatures that we find on Earth. That includes your pet dog, dolphins, the mould growing on your bathroom wall, and even the life forms you can’t see with the naked eye, like bacteria. We’re talking about every single type of living creature on Earth.

3. Why is biodiversity important?

Good question! Science is just scratching the surface and we’re now only beginning to realise how important the natural world is, not only for our health and wellbeing, but for our very survival.

We rely on the natural world for countless things; food, resources, medical care, all of which we wouldn’t have, if it wasn’t for the natural processes which create these vital assets. Biodiversity, from ‘biological diversity’ – literally means the number of different living things on Earth and is a crucial component of these natural processes.

But in a world where the human population grows exponentially year by year, we are beginning to lose our natural heritage and the countless organisms which occupy it, and therefore the natural processes they provide.

4, You hold events and talks in schools, how do you go about engaging the kids in Nature and Science?

One of the key things is getting out of the classroom. Simply running workshops outside in the fresh air amongst nature is an amazing change of scenery for most pupils, firing up their imagination and enthusiasm! When we’ve been limited for time, we try to bring the natural world inside with us, showing off our collection of incredible tropical insects, using props from the natural world, or showing as many amazing images of the natural world as possible. A second important aspect is interactivity. We encourage group discussion, run activities such as making homes for bees and of course our ever popular Big Biodiversity Quiz.

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5. What are the biggest threats to British Wildlife today?

Probably a combination of ignorance and apathy. If people don’t know or care about wildlife around them, and its importance, there will be no impetus to preserve or help that wildlife. Another problem is that the politicians who represent us have little interest in the environment. With the UK now leaving the European Union, all of our important wildlife legislation protecting the natural environment could be rewritten or scrapped entirely. At this time it is extremely important that people support the U.K.’s conservation organisations, or write to their local MPs, to make sure the environment is not forgotten during the political and legislative shenanigans that are on the horizon.

6. Why should the general public be more interested in their natural surroundings?

Because their natural surroundings are amazing! There are incredible hidden worlds all around us just waiting to be discovered by those who take note. The latest high budget wildlife documentaries, like Planet Earth II are incredible but they are no substitute for the heart-pounding excitement of coming face-to-face with a red fox or the wonder of having a butterfly perch on your arm. Encountering nature also has the power to make you feel better. There is a growing body of evidence that contact with the natural world provides benefits to physical and mental health. 

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7. Where are some of the best places in the UK to see British Wildlife?

Everywhere! The key is to go outside, open your eyes, and be mindful of what you see. There are marvels to be found everywhere, from weird lichen growing on trees to flocks of migrating birds in the sky. Often the key is a change of perspective. Have you tried taking a really close look at common bird such as a Mallard duck or feral pigeon – you start to notice that they are truly spectacular, picking up on all sorts of details that would normally go unnoticed. If you’re after something a bit more adventurous, I’d highly recommend Scotland, with the Highlands being a particular favourite. You might see golden eagles in the glens, dolphins in the Moray Firth, and if you are extremely lucky (and an early riser) there is always the potential for otters!

9. Do you have any tips for people who might like to go into your chosen field?

Volunteering is a great way to pick up experience in the conservation sector, but be careful of the type of volunteering you undertake. Find out exactly what you’re getting involved with before you start, to make sure it is right for you, and make sure you’re actually doing something worthwhile once you’re volunteering starts. 

You might also want to consider specialising in a particular subject. Some of the more obscure fields, for example, molluscs or bryophytes, are often crying out for new experts, so it’s worth investigating avenues such as these.  Also learn how to do bat surveys as early as possible, as they are quite well-paid and will see you on your way to doing permanent environment work!

10. Are you holding any upcoming events?

Phil runs a weekly group called Discover Nature at the St Nicks nature reserve in York, which is part of their ecotherapy programme. Although the group is not an Eco Sapien event, Phil uses many of the Eco Sapien resources during his classes.  Find more info here 

11. What can we look forward to coming up on your show?

We’ve got an episode on the reintroduction of red kites to the UK that has been filmed and needs to be edited but it’s a case of us fitting it into our busy schedules!

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I hope you found that interesting. Please do check out the Eco Sapien website here and also their Youtube channel to find out more. Thanks to Philip and David for speaking to me.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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LVB’s London Marathon Training 2017 – Week 3

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Distance clocked this week:  29 miles. 4 runs. I’m only including Sunday to Friday this week as next week’s long run is on a Saturday so I did some pretty good mileage. This is due to my added 7 miler on Wednesday as I joined a running club! Some frosty mornings. this week.

Long run: 14 miles. In stark contrast to last week’s rain sodden jaunt, my long run setting was blue skies and sunshine. I followed a beautiful route which was rather hilly and took in some wonderful countryside sights including these lovely chaps above. The last 2 miles were tougher even though I was running along the canal but I felt incredible afterwards.

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Nutrition: Similar to last week as I’m upping my veggie intake and attempting to replace snack bars with fruit. Going pretty well so far but all the festive chocolate lingering around isn’t helping. Also, this was the first time I included gels on my long run and I tried the Clif Bloks which I really enjoyed using.

What am I listening to? So many running podcasts and 80s and 90s playlist in the gym. This week I’ve discovered the Run to the Top Podcast.

Cross Training: My first yoga class in such a long time and it felt great to take the time to stretch out. Also, have officially started my strength training which included the dreaded plank, dead lifts, weighted squats and lunges.

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Lessons Learnt : Took my Fitletic hydration belt for its first spin in a while and for some reason it was irritating me as it kept moving around.

You can find my week 1 post here and week 2 here .

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Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Seals

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5 Fun Facts about Seals

1. Only common and grey seals breed in British waters, though vagrant northern seals can be seen around our coasts. Common and grey seals are difficult to tell apart when in the water. The common seal has a relatively smaller head and its nostrils form a V-shape. The grey seal has an elongated ‘Roman nose’ and its nostrils are parallel.

2. Because seals hunt in the open sea and usually travel long distances in search of prey, returning to land means a significant drain on their energy reserves.  Therefore, seals tend to fast when ashore and minimise the time they spend on land.

3. Blubber is a good insulator at sea, but seals can overheat on land, even on cool days, so they often fan themselves with their flippers.

4. Because seals are evolved from land carnivores and, unlike whales and dolphins haven’t evolved ways of giving birth at sea, they must return to land to give birth to their pups.

5. Pups of both species are fed for up to four weeks, during which time they can more than double their body weight. Their mothers then abandon them.

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Where to see Seals? 

While seals can be seen basking at any time of year, they primarily return to land to moult (common seals from August to September; grey seals from February to April) and breed (common seals from June to August; grey seals from September to December).

Common seals are not actually uncommon in fresh water rivers and have been known to travel several hundred miles upstream. Grey seals, on the other hand, are much less likely to enter rivers.

The top 10 seal watching spots in the UK can be found here.

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Links to my previous Wildlife Wednesday posts can be found here and here.

Thanks for Reading.

London Vegan Bird

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SOURCES : RSPB, Discover Wildlife, Countryfile

LVB’s London Marathon Training 2017 – Week 2

 

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Distance clocked this week:  29 miles. 5 runs. My  recovery run the day after my 12 miles was only 4.5 miles but I found it a little more challenging than anticipated as my legs were pretty tired. However, I need to get used to running on tired legs so I embraced the feeling. I have also been trying to up my pace a little on my shorter runs.

Long run: 12 miles. It was incredibly rainy and muddy. The last 4 miles weren’t the best as I was thoroughly soaked by this time but still felt good and no problems with my pesky hamstring.

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Nutrition: This is the first week I have really started to focus on my nutrition again and making more healthy choices, although I’m pretty good at having a balanced diet, it’s more the reigning back of the cake that I need to work on. So, more salads and veg for me. The night before my long run I had a jacket potato, beans and salad. The morning of, I had chocolate porridge. I refuelled with a big salad for lunch and Pesto Pasta and veg for dinner.

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What am I listening to? The Ginger Runner podcast – in particular the episode interviewing Ben Gibbard (from Death Cab For Cutie, no less) about his first 100 mile race. Say what?

Cross Training: Adding in to my post run routine, some press ups, crunches, lunges and squat jumps.

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Lessons Learnt : Take water if running for more than 10 miles. I usually would but this time I couldn’t find my water belt so was rather parched by the time I got back. Not recommended.

You can find my week 1 post here.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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Abokado : New Vegan Menu

Abokado, the health focused quick service restaurant based across London has recently launched a new vegan menu and I was lucky enough to try it out.

Firstly for breakfast, new options include:

  • Peanut Butter Bagel , £1.29
  • Peanut Butter and Banana Bagel £1.90
  • Peanut Butter free porridge top

Abokado are now offering Pip and Nut peanut butter. Try it on a bagel with banana or in porridge.  I went for the Peanut butter and banana bagel and was not disappointed.I love this peanut butter as it’s super clean, free from palm oil and very tasty.

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The new vegan lunch options include:

Inari Veggie, £3.49 Eat in + £4.18 img_5619

Great for a light bite, this includes Inari, miso, avo, cucumber and rocket rolls with ginger, wasabi and soy.

Miso Avocado Wrap, £3.49 Eat in + Vat £4.19

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This was incredible. Fresh Hass avocado, cucumber, edamame, baby spinach, inari and splash of homemade fresh miso dressing in a wheat bran tortilla. Highly recommended.

Clean and Green, £4.49 Eat in  + Vat £5.28img_5621

For a larger lunch, try this  combo of some of my favourite things . The sesame and ginger dressing is a triumph! Miso, avo, cucumber & rocket rolls, veggie dumplings and nari with a fresh soy, ginger and wasabi.

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Verdict? Some great new options, all were complete winners, all healthy and delicious so if you have an Avokado near you, go check it out. http://abokado.com/

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Puffins

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5 Fun Facts about Puffins

1. A small auk, puffins are familiar as the ‘clowns’ of the coast with their brightly coloured bills, bumpy landings and waddling walk.

2. People frequently think that penguins and puffins are related. Although both birds share a similar black and white feather coloration, penguins belong to the family Spheniscidae, and puffins belong to the family Alcidae.

3. Puffins live in burrows in the short grass at the top of cliffs and feed on fish, such as sandeels, which they catch at sea by diving below the surface and using their wings to swim in pursuit of their prey.

4. For most of the year puffins are out at sea, returning to land to breed. During the breeding season, displays of bill-knocking and ritualised walking will result in mating pairs producing one egg, which is laid at the end of the burrow.

5. Despite being small in stature (just 27–28cm in length), puffins are extremely tough, braving storm-tossed seas throughout autumn and winter, out of sight of land.

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Where and when to see Puffins

Adults return to their breeding colonies on grassy cliff tops in March and April, departing again in mid-August.

Although more than half of the world’s puffin population breed near Iceland, there are a handful of colonies in the UK. Some of the top places to spot puffins in the UK include Hermaness (Shetland), Lunga (off Mull), Farne Islands (Northumberland) and The Isle of May (Fife). Some RSPB reserves and locations are listed here.

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How can we help Puffins?

Half of the UK population of puffins is restricted to just a few sites meaning they are on the Red list. Threatened by falling fish stocks and habitat loss, the survival of puffins and other seabirds depends on a healthy marine environment. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of ‘Living Seas’ where marine wildlife thrives. You can find out more here.

Thanks for Reading.

London Vegan Bird

Check out my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/londonveganbird

Follow me on Twitter @londonveganbird

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Sources: The Wildlife Trust, RSPB, My Destination Unknown, Cornwall Wildlife Trust

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Believe In The Power Of The Run.

No Chick left behind

"Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any way" (peta)

Bowl of Beans

Exploring Vegetarian Food from Latin America And Beyond

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A lifestyle blogger with a love for many things!

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Vegan fashion, food, travel and other stuff

Style With A Smile

Cruelty-free fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog By Noa

Nick Butter Running

Ultra Runner, Endurance Athlete, Adventurer & Motivational Speaker

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a help page for running addicts

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Running, Lifting, and Everything In Between

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The adventures of a 4'11" gluten-free Bostonian runner

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Simple made easy! psychology love feeling emotion thought behaviour success strategy

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5k, 10k, Half Marathon

Around the world in 80 runs

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'inspirational mountain adventures'

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Running, making, baking and creating

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Ethical beauty and lifestyle

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Writing about running, war zones, and everything in between