2017: In Review

I’m aware I’ve been very quiet on here of late but hopefully that’s about to change as I really want to get back into the LVB blog life again.

To ease myself in and remind me of what a pretty good year I’ve had, here are some of my highlights from 2017.

Moving back to Shire

2017 saw me moving into my own place in the town where I grew up. Something I never thought I would do but I now know in my heart it was right thing. Being back in the countryside, near my friends and family is where I’m meant to be right now.

London marathon


My second marathon and it was a toughy. In hindsight, I definitely over trained for this one, rocking up to the line with 3 20 milers, a 21 and a 22 under my belt. By the time April had swung round I had most definitely lost my running mojo. Still, the atmosphere pulled me round and the celebratory Wagamama with my friends was nearly worth it.

Lake District and Lakeland Trails

One of my favourite races last year, the Coniston Half Marathon made me fall back in love with running. It was a challenging and hilly course but so beautiful and spending the weekend with friends made it all the more wonderful.

Northampton Half Marathon

Sometimes, not often for me, you get those races where everything falls in to place. Having been ill the night before, my hopes of a sub 2 hour were left by the wayside but my friends who also happened to be Northampton Half pacers had other ideas. Running with my Run Club was so special and I enjoyed every moment. I finally got that elusive sub 2 finish to top off the day. Oh and that’s me in the middle of my gorgeous friends who also smashed it that day!


One of my favourite places in the world, I was lucky to tag on to a family holiday and visit Indian Shores in Florida again this year. Running on the beach everyday was a definite highlight and it was great to see how many more vegan options/places.

So many events, races and activities planned for 2018 so stayed tuned.

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LVB Marathon Training Diary – week 13


Distance clocked this week: 24 miles. 2 runs. A bit of a fail of a week as I had a cold so after my long run, I only managed one more short one which was a big struggle for me.

Long run: 21 miles. What a tough run. It was a mental struggle for me this week as physically I actually felt fine. The first 10 miles were pretty enjoyable taking in a waterside view but after yet another route confusion,  the wind seemed to arrive with vengeance and I just wanted to get home. Still, I always feel so accomplished afterwards and it’s great preparation for the sure to be metal aspects of the marathon.


Nutrition: I definitely noticed a lack of appetite this week due to illness (very unusual for me) so I just tried to drinks lots of smoothies and eat loads of veg to ward away my cold.


What am I listening to? More Desert Island discs – if you haven’t  checked out the Bruce Springsteen episode, it’s definitely worth a listen. What a legend.

Cross Training: No cross training for me due to my cold unless you count sleeping.

Lessons Learnt: If you’re not well, don’t feel guilty about not being able to follow your plan. Take the time to recover properly first and come back stronger.


LVB Marathon Training Diary – week 11

Distance clocked this week: 39 miles. 5 runs. Some great runs this week. My hamstring was feeling quite tight at the beginning of the week but I eventually got my groove back with some short and speedier runs.

Long run: 20 miles. Something different for this week’s long run as I took part in the MK Festival of Running and chose to do the 20 miler. It was a great atmosphere as the event also included a 5k, 10k and Half Marathon options. The run itself wasn’t the most exciting route but mostly flat and enjoyable. I found a lovely running buddy the whole way round which meant the time flew by.

IMG_6950Nutrition: Still trying to keep it clean with healthy meal choices and attempting to curb my super sweet tooth with better options such as dates, fruit and nuts. My new fave lunch has got to be this multigrain wrap with hummus, veg and olives (a tip from the great vegan ultra runner, Scott Jurek).

IMG_6914What am I listening to? Another week, another new podcast discovery. I’m loving Ted Radio Hour from the people who bring us those amazing Ted Talks. Check it out here.


Cross Training: Not as much as I’d like this week, but a few gym sessions and some at home workouts focusing on my core and stretching out my problem areas.

IMG_6993Lessons Learnt: Unfortunately, I experienced quite a few stitches on my 20 mile run. I’m not sure if these were due to nutrition choices or going out a little faster than normal to begin with so I’ll keep experimenting on my next long runs.

LVB’s Marathon Training Diary – Week 8

img_6532Distance clocked this week: 35 miles. 5 runs. Let me tell you, even when you think you’re strong and you’re smashing out the long runs every week, short runs can be tough. 2 days after my epic almost 18 miler, I was just not feeling it. Freezing winds, muddy trails and my hat blowing off. But I did it and that’s the most important thing. Keep pushing on guys.

Long run: 17.7 miles. I had actually planned on a 15 mile run but the route that I followed was a little further than I realised so ended up at 17.7. I opened my door to snow so felt very pleased with myself for braving not my favourite conditions. I did 3 or 4 miles along a very muddy canal and then veered onto the road passing through country villages and fairly busy country lanes. Half way in, it got a bit quieter and by the 10 mile mark, my legs were starting to feel a bit tired from all the hills I’d already tackled. I plodded on, took in  a gel and that gave me a little lift to push on. I finished tired but happy to have ran for longer than planned with no hamstring niggles.


Nutrition: I purchased the vegan SIS nutrition pack, which includes gels, pre and post recovery powders and bars. On this run, I had an electrolyte pack in my water and a gel. When I got home, I had the chocolate recovery powder. I seemed to have a speedier than usual recovery so fingers crossed this routine is working.


What am I listening to?  Mostly old episodes of The Ginger Runner with some Little Big Town for some added motivation for the last few miles (they’re an American country pop band).

Cross Training: The now usual strength training. Would love to fit a bit more strength work in too so that’s something I’m going to work on next week.

Lessons Learnt : Switching from podcasts to music for the 3 miles or so really did give me an extra push when it got tough.


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

I am raising money for Kidsaid. If you would kindly like to sponsor me, you can find my Virgin Money Giving page here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/londonveganbird.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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LVB’s London Marathon Training – Week 6

Distance clocked this week: 34 miles. 5 runs. Some great runs this week as I’ve been trying to up my speed a little and have been enjoying the challenge.  I’m also happy to report that even after a long day in London on Saturday at Meet the Experts (see below), I managed to squeeze in a little 3 miler in the dark when I got home.

Long run: 15.5 miles. This was one of those great runs when mentally and physically I was in a great place and everything came together. I followed a route from a  few weeks ago that I had previously really enjoyed but unfortunately, the road was closed to I ended up turning round half way instead. I was planing on doing 14 miles, but was enjoying it so much and felt really strong, so I decided to add on another mile and in the end actually finished at 15.5.


Nutrition: Post long run I decided to try my own version of a protein shake – oat milk, peanut butter and cocoa powder. It went down very well indeed. For the rest of the week, I concentrated on greens and beans making sure I had one form or another every day.


Wholemeal pasta with greens, beans and Violife cheese

What am I listening to? Another rediscovery of mine is the No Meat Athlete podcast. A great mix of interviews, motivation and tips for vegan athletes.

Cross Training: Strength training focusing on core and arms. Body Balance class was also great for stretching and focusing on balance and flexibility.


Lessons Learnt : I attended the Meet the Experts event in London for those running the London marathon which included speakers talking about nutrition, pacing and other top tips for training and to use on the day.  This week, I’ve focused more on my pace and it’s something I want to do more of going forward.

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 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.


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


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.


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.


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!


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


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


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


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


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


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.


Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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LVB’s London Marathon Training 2017 – Week 3


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.


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.


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 .


Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Seals


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.


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.


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