“Do you want to come and do a running treasure hunt around London Zoo?” – you don’t say no to this question. Cut to a rainy Saturday morning in Mornington Crescent, gathering in a cute little cafe with all my blogging faves chatting to Brooks about their new Urban Jungle Pack. The Urban Jungle Pack reimagines classic Brooks shoes (Ravenna 6 and Ghost 8) in cheetah and zebra prints and the results are pretty cool indeed.

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After the debrief we headed to London Zoo to start a treasure hunt. The prize? A pair of trainers from the Brooks Jungle Pack to give away to my followers! These shoes are awesome and everyone in our team (Charlie, Emma and Jen!) was keen to win so that we could host our own giveaways! We had to find five things in the zoo..

(1) Take a selfie with an animal smaller than you

Easy peasy with this little guy! smaller animal(2) Share a photo of the scariest thing in the zoo

This was a close call between the SPIDER ROOM (spiders roaming free in the wild)…

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…and this red-eyed demon fish.

demon fish(3) Show us some stripes

It took a lot of time to get this photo.

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I also apparently really love fish

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(4) Take a video of a noisy animal

It just so happened that it was really really rainy that day so all of the animals stayed inside, quietly snoozing away. This was very sensible, but it did mean that we couldn’t get a video of noisy animals! We noticed that, what with us running around all excited, we were probably the noisiest animals in the zoo that morning! We got a video of us running wild in a tunnel…

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(5) Show us the comparison; which animal looks most like you? 

I actually only got down to do this impression of a gorilla because I thought it would be funny, but turns out my pose is pretty accurate.

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The good news is that all our efforts were rewarded – we won! This means I get to offer a pair of these shoes for free to one of my lovely readers. All the details below!

IMPORTANT INFO:

The shoes are selling like hot cakes so the competition will be open for 48 hours only.

It’s open to residents of the UK only.

Both men and women are welcome to enter!

To enter you just have to copy on this post telling me your favourite jungle animal (Spoiler: mine is an elephant! They’re not very speedy though so not featured by Brooks in their Urban Jungle Pack…).

You can also earn an extra entry by spreading the love to your own followers and tweeting a link to the competition.

The competition closes at midnight on Tuesday 17 November and a winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter!

Please note that the shoes need to be ordered by Brooks on Wednesday 18 November, so please standby and be ready to email me with your preferred model (Ghost 8 or Ravenna 6!) and shoe size on Wednesday if you are the lucky winner!

GOOD LUCK!!

You can enter through this Rafflecopter page HERE! #WidgetWoes

A huge thank you to Brooks for inviting me for the funnest morning ever at London Zoo and for giving me a pair of Brooks Jungle Pack Trainers to giveaway! 

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I’ve been meaning to write a post about Instagram and #fitspiration for a while now, and getting featured in The Telegraph yesterday as one of their top inspiring runners on instagram gave me the kick to finally get some thoughts down.

Firstly – I was pretty stoked to be featured. I am really inconsistent with instagram and never have time to take nice photos, so I thought it was pretty cool that I got included. I am by far the smallest blogger on there too, so I thought it was cool that I was still deemed worthy of inclusion. Thanks Jess Salter!

Secondly – some thoughts on instagram in the fitness world. If I am completely honest, I find the world of instagram #fitspiration pretty demoralising and disheartening. So many shiny professional photos, honed abs, perfect dinners, beautiful yoga poses and people who ostensibly live in shiny white houses. I’ve found myself posting on instagram less and less because I just feel like I can’t keep up. My life is terrible in comparison! Obviously each to their own; I know that a lot of people find these images aspirational, rather than demoralising. However, I have decided that enough if enough. I’ve unfollowed the ‘big’ instagram accounts that I used to follow and the ones that only post professional photos (or, even worse, random photos they’ve found on pinterest – why would I care about a nice beach you haven’t even been to…?) so that I’m back to just following people I find inspiring, interesting or funny. If you’re also sick of instagram #fitspiration, I would recommend you do the same.

With this in mind, I thought I’d concoct my own list of accounts to follow on instagram. Let me know if you have any other recommendations!

1. Charlie Watson, aka The Runnerbeans (@therunnerbeans)

I love following Charlie because she works really hard at her running and I find watching her progress really inspiring. She’s currently training for the Chicago marathon and has been really putting in the time with her training. She has set out to improve her running and reading about her sessions makes me want to do the same

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2. Susie Chan (@susie_chan_)

I love following Susie because, not only is she a phenomenal runner, but she absolutely loves running. Her enthusiasm for running (and joy while running) permeate all of her posts and you can’t help but feel her happiness too. Susie is also an amazing runner but really humble about her achievements, which makes her all the more inspiring!

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3. Sarah aka Squatbot (@squatbot)

I love Sarah’s posts because they’re fun. She trains hard, eats well and always seems to have fun doing it. I love the way she is clearly serious about her training but never takes herself too seriously – my kind of girl.

4. Sophie Kay aka Fitology (@fitology_uk)

Sophie is all about body confidence. I love her honesty about her body and her appreciation for its abilities, not just its aesthetics. She’s a personal trainer who practises what she preaches and encourages everyone to love their bodies, which is a message I can definitely get on board with. She’s also called Sophie and everyone knows Sophies are ace.

5. Hot Dudes Reading (@hotdudesreading)

It won’t inspire you to get any fitter but it’s still excellent. No explanation needed. You’re probably already following it.

6. Zoe Meskell aka Miles Fitter (@milesfitter)

Zoe is lovely and is always up to something fun and fitnessy. She always seems to fit things in around her life – I particularly admire her ability to make it to early morning classes, something I fail at nine times out of ten. She has just moved to New York and I am really enjoying following her adventures there.

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7. Volt Women (@voltwomen)

A bunch of amazing ladies from the Bridge the Gap community, Volt Women are always featuring inspiring women from all over the world. I love the way this account tells stories along with the pictures, and I love that they’re always told openly and honestly.

8. Pink Helmet Posse (@pinkhelmetposse)

Little babes skateboarding. These little girls are fearless and awesome and I wish someone had thought of it when I was little. They’re amazing as well as adorable! JUST LOOK AT HER!

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9. Juliet Elliott (@julietelliott)

When I grow up I want to be Juliet. Ex pro-snowboarder and now bike babe extraordinaire, I love following her amazing adventures (from mountain biking to competing in the Red Hook Crit to training in a velodrome). Juliet does everything I am too scared to do and I am in awe of her talent and fearless attitude. She also has rad tats that I wish I could have and a beautiful relationship with her husband.

10. Amanda Bisk (@amandabisk)

The only big account I still follow. Amanda Bisk has an incredible body, but it’s hard earned. I love following Amanda because she is an incredible athlete. She used to compete as a pole vaulter for Australia is now an elite athletics coach, an exercise physiologist and a qualified yoga teacher. She is a ball of energy and is always posting videos with cool ideas for workouts. I feel that she genuinely takes pride in the community she has created and I find her attitude really inspiring.

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Who are your top instagram accounts to follow? What inspires you?

You can follow me on instagram at @sophiechristabel!

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I love leggings, and I love supporting local businesses, so finding an awesome local business that makes rad leggings is a pretty dreamy discovery. Ginger Orange are a brand born and raised right here in East London and they make some pretty ace leggings.

When I first perused the Ginger Orange shop I instantly fell in love with the Dreamboat Duchess leggings. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am a sucker for anything nautical, and the duchess is a dream!

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They arrived in a beautiful package and I was super excited when they arrived! In real life they’re absolutely gorgeous – the colours are amazing. The top blue is more of a purple blue, and the blue at the bottom is a vibrant sky blue.

The leggings are a good snug fit and have a lovely thick waistband (all leggings should have thick waistbands!), with a pocket tucked in to the front. They’re soft and comfortable to wear, especially for yoga or gym work. For running I prefer a tie waistband which these don’t have, so I think they’re better suited to studio work.

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The leggings are a little long in the leg for me, but I do have really short legs (26 inch inside leg!) so that isn’t really a surprise. My one major complaint is that they’re cold wash only – the recommended washing temperature is 30 degrees, which isn’t hot enough for truly sweaty gear – another reason I would say they’re more for yoga or pilates! (You could also use a sports specific wash, like Halo).

On the whole I really like these leggings. They’re clearly really high quality, beautifully made and totally different from anything else on the (increasingly crowded) sportswear market!

Ginger Orange do other gorgeous designs (especially these La Reina Mora ones!) as well as some plain leggings in the same high quality materials. If you fancy trying them for yourself (and supporting a cool local business) then you can use this discount code, exclusively for my readers! Use code ‘BPF10OFF’ for 10% off!

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I’m going on an adventure. A big scary adventure, completely different from anything I’ve ever done before. I’m pretty excited, but also quite scared. I think this is a good mix of emotions to have when you’re embarking on something life changing. In October I’m going to Ethiopia to trek the Simien Mountain Range. The trek will take place over five days and the aim is to scale the highest peak in the mountain range – Ras Dashen at 4620m! We’ll be camping out on the mountain and trekking 6-8 hours a day. I love an adventure but, I won’t lie, I am a little scared. It’s such a big challenge with scary obstacles like sheer drops, changeable weather and amazing wild animals before you even get the obvious risk of altitude acclimatisation. It is beautiful though… Semien_Mountains_13 I’ll be trekking with a group of my colleagues in order to raise money for UNICEF. Not only are UNICEF an amazing charity, they’re also the global charity partner of my law firm. As a firm we do a whole bunch of sweet pro bono work in the name of achieving justice for children worldwide, but that isn’t all. We also undertake year round fundraising activities (an inter-office spin competition and dragon boat racing are the two that come to mind first!) with the aim of raising $1.5 million for UNICEF too. unicef_facebook_200x382 This trek is just one of those fundraising activities. My personal target for the fundraising trek is £3,000 and I would absolutely love it if you would sponsor me. No matter how big or small the contribution, it all makes a massive difference and it would mean the world to me to be able to raise this amazing amount of money for an amazing charity. As part of my non-fundraising contribution to our partnership I’ve contributed the UK section to a worldwide report on juvenile justice systems in order to petition a change in the juvenile justice system in Albania, and I’m also just starting work on a child marriage project protecting young girls in the UK. I’m also hoping to organise some charity classes as well as an amazing fitness babe raffle – keep your eyes peeled for updates on the blog! In the meantime, if you’d like to contribute to my fundraising you can do so over on my Justgiving page!

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As I’ve said before, I love a Nike race. They know how to do an event and, I think, they’re the best in the game at the moment. I’ve been training with my best bitches (Ride or Die crew) to take on the race and I was so excited to be joined by some of our mums and aunties too! I love that this is a race that everyone wants to run, regardless of experience, ability, size, shape and size, and so it was great to have some of the amazing women in our life sign up to join us.

Nike surprised us with our very own crew sign on the course - best thing ever! Wish I could have taken it home with me.

Nike surprised us with our very own crew sign on the course – best thing ever! Wish I could have taken it home with me.

Unfortunately, a week before race day I managed to break my toe (!) so I knew that it wasn’t going to be a speedy one for me. My best friend told me that she was running with her mum to keep her company at her first ever race, so I thought it would be nice to cruise along with them (/crash their mother/daughter experience).

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I raced in my new Nike Zoom Elite – a proper post on these awesome shoes soon!

I live about 5 minutes from Victoria Park and loved rolling out of bed an hour or so before the race and strolling round the corner. No early start for once! Everything at the race village was seamlessly organised; no queue to get in, 60 seconds queue at the bag check, no queue at the loos. Organising an event for 10,000 people (and 10,000 guests!) is no mean feat, so I was impressed by how hassle free everything was.

This year we were funnelled in to our corrals before doing the warm-up. We were positioned in the orange/yellow pen (the last one) and we were in there for 45 minutes before getting to cross the start line. I appreciate that this included the warm-up time, but it also included a whole lot of waiting around, which was a shame.

Tatum, Lisa and I. Waiting but still smiling,

Tatum, Lisa and I. Waiting but still smiling,

When we (finally) got over the start line we got off to a good start. We settled in to a solid, steady pace and Tatum and I were concerned that her mum (Lisa) may not be able to keep it up. Luckily for us, she completely proved us wrong.

Without sharing too much about Lisa, she has had quite the time of it over the past year or so (and longer, but particularly the last year) and she wanted to run the race to do something for her, to signify the end of a bad era and start moving onwards and upwards. She did absolutely brilliantly. The furthest she had run in training was 5km but you’d never have known. She didn’t stop once, and we were so proud to see her passing people who were walking. When she was struggling we reminded her that she’d had five children so she could pretty much withstand anything, and when that didn’t work we reminded her of the bloody marys she’d have at the post-race brunch we’d booked (!) which seemed to work best. Our last km was our fastest and she still had enough left in the tank for sprint finish. Crossing the line was a seriously proud (and emotional) moment.

Lisa after the race! Hugging her sister, Gail.

Lisa after the race! Hugging her sister, Gail.

This race experience sums up everything I love about Nike women’s races. It’s all about getting women of all ages, sizes and abilities together to achieve something. There’s no winners, no podium, no public results. With this race achievement is all relative, whether that’s achieving a top 5 place, a new PB or simply finishing the course without stopping, as Lisa proved. The Alex Monroe necklaces are such a gorgeous keepsake too!

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Thank you Nike for having me and my crew! I received my race place for free, but was not asked to blog about the race. All opinions and soppy stories are my own. 

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