#infinitepossibilities with the Aeon from Lowe Alpine

Everyone is on their own adventure and with this comes #infinitepossibilities. Adventure to each and everyone of us means something totally different.

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The perfect family day out exploring local woodland, poo sticks, picnics, kite flying and bike rides

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A winter expedition in rugged snow coated mountains, training for further quests.

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Whatever adventure you are on, kit is always key, the outdoor world holds amazing opportunities for us all whatever our age or aim. Lowe Alpine have always had it in their core to redefine the standard kit, ‘Greg, Mike & Jeff Lowe founded Lowe Alpine because they had a desperate need for better gear for their climbing & mountaineering exploits. 50 years’ later Lowe Alpine remain committed to Greg Lowe’s visionary product design ideology. They set a standard that others follow. They always remain functional, tough and comfortable to carry.’ The Aeon is certainly no exception to this rule and hosts a whole array of well thought through, practical and refined features that come in to their own when you need them most.

It is only true experience in the world you are creating kit to excel in that allows you to know what the wearer needs irrespective of the activity.

Lowe Alpine word this excellence as:

‘Designed for people with an infinite possibility mindset, the Aeon is the perfect mix of modern, contemporary style, rugged construction, functional features and high-quality, premium materials. The Aeon comes in both male and female versions. There are 4 sizes for both genders and a choice of zip-entry and single buckle top loading design in 7 colour-ways.’

‘The Aeon features The Flexion™ harness – an ultra-thin, low profile harness that contours perfectly to the wearer’s body. This spreads the load of the pack evenly across

the shoulders making the carry comfortable even when the pack is loaded with heavy gear. Integrated with an AirContour back system creating a carefully calibrated mix of breathability, support and adjustability.  Fixed with a MultiLock™ Tool for attaching all styles of Helmet, Ice Axes and walking poles to the pack. This feature alongside a bike light attachment system, stretch mesh pockets and hydration compatibility. The Aeon has infinite possibilities.’

What I love….

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  • The harness size is adjustable and not with set options where you are choosing between a few set sizes not that quite right. This is FULLY adjustable, its large Velcro pad lets you make minute adjustments until it is just right.
  • The huge front mesh pocket. Made of tough mesh standing up in

    rugged conditions and perfect for stuffing anything you need in a hurry.

  • The Aeon features both a waist and chest strap keeping the pack tight to you during runs, bounce is eliminated and weight is taken off your shoulder leaving you to go harder for longer.
  • Chest strap features a nicely camouflaged whistle for emergencies – very clever indeed!
  • Both sides of the pack feature adjustable and quick release loops perfect for keeping equipment secure, perfect for hiking poles or ice picks. I’ve even used for my GoPro tripod, it works a treat!

 

Whether you’re off up a mountain on two wheels or two feet, heading to the surf, need a pack to carry your kit for your run commute or skiing the trails off piste give yourself #infinitepossibilities.
Take the Aeon.

 

Joseph Joseph DrawStore

We could all do with a little streamlining in our lives, things are hectic enough with time and space at a premium so Joseph Joseph have set about on a challenge of their own to bring us ‘The Space Savers’

Now lets be honest Joseph Joseph are the big dogs of the household world, the A-listers, the VIPs at the home wear party, holding hands with the likes of Le Creuset, wearing Le Chameau and BFFs with Orla Kiely. They do however have great reasons to be so well respected all of which come from delivering time after time.

19 items make up their new Space Saving range from whisks to roasting trays, mashers to scales, all designed for ‘those who like to keep things organised’. For our house though its draws that need a boost, the knives that have been sat on the worktop since they were temporarily placed there on moving day 2 years ago really do need a home and this is where ‘DrawStore’ comes in to its own.

The two DrawStore items have taken what used to take up two draws and a good chunk of worktop in to one streamlined masterpiece. Hallelujah.

Let me explain. A picture is worth thousand words right?!

 

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I’ll start with the Knife Organiser built to hold 9 knives of varying length and size, safely and compactly. The eagle eyed ones amongst you will be able to see that i actually have it holding 10 in the picture, brownie points in my book. I did find some deeper blade knives didn’t fit brilliantly and tilted back slightly when on the top layer so just be ready to do a few swaps from the top and bottom layers.

Next up the Cutlery Organiser, does exactly what it says on the tin. What used to take up a whole draw on its own in a standard cutlery tray has now been reduced to a third of a draw, if that! If you are one of those households who bought (or most likely were bought as a housewarming/wedding/university present) one set of cutlery, still have it all, haven’t ‘gained’ random other items from picnics/friends (restaurants?!!!) then i salute you!!! But for all the 99.9% of normal households this is the perfect fix to the knives that are slightly too long for the knife section or spoons that are too big for a tea spoon section yet get lost in the table spoon one.

‘Innovation is at the heart of everything we do at Joseph Joseph, that’s why we make it our aim to identify everyday problems and solve them by designing functional solutions.’
Antony & Richard Joseph

They’ve done that alright!

Asics Finish Advantage Tights

Made with Motion Dry technology these tights are designed to not only compress to keep the oxygen flowing but also wick any moisture away from your skin to keep you feeling comfortable and your mind on your session.

I love running in compression socks and find they really help in the last set of the session. That set when your legs and lungs are burning yet you know it is this set that counts. These tights are super and are like whole leg compression socks. If you are a fan of running in compression socks you will suit these tights.

 

Pros –

  • Overall compression – Whole leg compression increasing the blood flow during your session, easing lactic acid removal, reducing post session aching.
  • Wide waistband – No cutting in here, these stay up through all the burpees, squats and sprints that you can throw at them.
  • Reflective detail – I love the big Asics logo and having it in reflective print is brilliant to keep your visible on your dark runs.
  • Men’s and women’s! – Find both here

 

Things to consider –

  • These tights don’t have ankle zips. Personally I prefer tights with zips, I find them easier to get on and off – perhaps that just me!
  • Remember these are compression so they are tight! Check the size guide and make sure you know your measurements. Yep I ordered the wrong size first time around.
  • Currently only in black which if you have read my Asics Zero Distraction Bra post you will know I love things as colourful as possible.

Day in the life…

…of me on a week day. If you follow me on twitter you will know that I am a teacher and so holidays and weekends go a little differently but Monday to Friday I follow a very set routine.

 

6:12 am – Africa by Toto starts my day not a moment later than 12 minutes past 6!

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Shower, dress, the usual. If it’s a smart day at work (i.e. no practical lessons and so I’m in a suit) you can be sure I’ll be running late as this is slower to get in to that tracksuit bottoms and a tshirt. I love a PE kit day!

6:45am  – Breakfast this is anything from overnight oats to bread and nut butter, eggs if I was quick getting changed, cereal if I was really slow. If I have had a hard session the evening before and have had a spare moment then I try to make something ready for the next morning. I spend week days dreaming of weekend pancakes.

7:10 am – Time for school

7:30 am – Arrive at school, chaos unfolds from moment one, I spend most of the time until 1:30 when lunch is trying to suppress the ever rising hunger. Numerous cups of tea might help take my mind off how starving I am but if determination is wavering then it might be the case of eating lunch at break time. Often this is of course out of ‘pre-planning from past experience’ as when one of the many lunchtime meetings arise it’s either lunch at break or lunch at 3:15, I’ll go for break time any day.

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3:15pm – So after morning meeting, assembly, two lessons, duty, two more lessons, lunch club or meeting, longest hour of the day aka P5, the kids finally stop shouting in my ear shot. Here I might have the chance to grab a snack, or of course lunch if it wasn’t eaten at break. Either way I am seriously flagging again here, before the next meeting, after school club or staff training. If it’s a snack I will have been looking forward to this since my last mouthful of lunch so I always make it good. Get Fruity bars are firm favorite. I LOVE my food and am always thinking about what I can eat next however I know this has to get me through training and out the other side to tea.

4:30 if I am very lucky, 5:30 if we have had meetings, 7:30 if it has been parents evening, options evening, presentation evening ect ect ect, I get to go home.

The rest is not so much governed by time but more energy levels and therefore my average working speed.

Make tea, this will be anything massive and filing!

Go training – This varies but a standard week includes 1 HIIT session, 1 intervals session, 1 long run, 2 swims, 1 weights/power session.

Eat tea, usually cold after training with left overs going as lunch for the next day.

Collapse in bed, sleep….

 

….and off we go again!

Asics Zero Distraction Bra Review

Asics Zero Distraction Bra

Asics have done it here! Ladies you NEED this sports bra! Zero distraction indeed, I actually forgot I was wearing it.

Now cards on the table here I am not the most well-endowed, shall we say up there and don’t really have the issue of having to keep them strapped down BUT I am that person who if the slightest thread is itching, annoying or even a hair is in my way I will notice every step of my session and couldn’t possibly think of anything else. This is a nightmare when it comes to clothes, especially new ones that I haven’t yet decided if they are ‘OK’, is it too loose, too tight? Is it itching, irritating does it move? ARGH!!

Simply put this is the best sports bra I own and it has made it to the top of the tablel in one foul-swoop after three wears. Well done Asics!

Pros –

  • Adjustable – With an adjustable back and straps this doesn’t confine you to either S, M or L. You can make it fit you.
  • Slightly padded cups – No embarrassing moments in those cold sessions, enough said about that.
  • Adjustable whilst wearing – Genius! The straps are adjusted at the front by little hooks, you no longer have to be a contortionist to get the straps the perfect length. On top of this not only are these soft to the skin but even have a layer of thicker padding over your collar bone to prevent it digging in. Seriously give this designer a medal!

Things to consider –

I actually don’t have anything to write in this list in terms of the bra its self the only tiny negative is that it only comes in black. Now I know black is slimming and all that (not that im sure this can work with sports bra) but everyone love a bit of colour. I hope this is something they bring out very soon. Fingers crossed.

Find it at sportsshoes.com here

 

 

Fuel up for the perfect traning session

When I’m training (that’s most of the days) or recovering (that’s the few days left )  I follow a pretty fluid structure in terms of how I fuel up ready for a big session. I like to call it ‘eat what I like/have in the fridge’. I am not someone who is on a diet, I have never been on a diet nor will ever go on a diet and I wholeheartedly believe in everything in moderation; you might not feel this works for you but for me its going ok. I wouldn’t want to spend my whole life craving something, eventually giving in to temptation, feeling guilty and then starting the cycle again. Life is for living and cake can fit in to that pretty nicely.

During the school week (I am a teacher so I don’t go to work I go to school) I avoid puddings, these are a weekend treat and it makes me look forward to them rather than have them out of habit at the end of every meal. Everything else is pretty much fair game. I genuinely like healthy food so it does make the job of sticking to a varied diet a lot easier, I have a lot of meat and veg with every meal but as I said I eat what I fancy cooking and usually what I haven’t had that week already.

The only part you could perhaps call a regime, superstition, or habit even is that I HAVE to have a caffeine boost before training to make me feel ready to go and a recovery protein shot of some form afterwards. Before every session I like Youth Energy, this gives me the boost I’m looking for with no added nasty’s or unnatural junk. I used to stick solely to coffee however couldn’t get on with the overly powerful ‘buzz’ and almost light headedness it gave me once it had kicked in.
Afterwards as part of my recovery I am partial to a protein shake or bar but don’t like to have the same thing every day. I find it helps me recover quicker setting me up for the next day. After all I do have 1400 students to cope with before I even start my session, I need every bit of energy available 😉

If you haven’t done so already you must give EnergySnacks a visit. These guys have jumped on the monthly box band wagon but in a superb way. Move over monthly make up or recipe kits, its time for real life training related stash!

Not only are they doing boxes of brilliant branded gels, recovery shakes, protein snacks  (even the GU protein and caffeine stroop wafel!!!!)  they are boxing up a ever changing mixture and delivering it to you each month to keep your cupboard stocked. If you don’t like sticking to one brand or get bored of the same flavour of protein shakes after every session then this really is the thing for you.

In conjunction with EnergySnacks I have created my ideal training box that they will be packaging up and selling as their box for runners. This focuses on the things I like and use I have deliberately chosen a wide range of brands as no one wants to be eating the same day in day out. I’ve also thrown in some extra Hydration sachets for that winter boost.

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Pre training energy

Clif Energy bar
GU Stroop waffle

Post training recoveryclif-barsuntitledskhh8-mg-1

32GI Recovery protein drink
Clif Builders bar
High Five protein hit
OTE any time bar
Torq recovery bar


Hydration

GU Hydration drink mix
Skratch Lab Hydration Mix

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

‘My Story’ From Teacher to the Euros 2016

As a PE teacher you have to be pretty resilient and it is not just going out in the British wind and rain that have its challenges. Summer comes with the iconic ‘PE teacher tan’; sock and t-shirt lines are tough to work with!
When I am not out on the school field with 30 teenagers in tow I’m either training, racing or doing more outdoorsy things which tend to fill my weekends and holidays. Through school and university I was always your typical sporty girl; in every team and spending every evening at training for one thing or another. It was being involved with Guides and Scouts however that really opened up the world of outdoor pursuits and wow did I love them all. Kayaking, climbing, camping were all so different to the school sports I spent my weekdays doing so these began to fill my weekends.img_0929
When I became a teacher my aim was to give the pupils in my care the opportunities that I had, I have amazing active parents and this really showed in my childhood. This goal is still my main driving force through my career and has been my motivation to lead many new activities to my pupils. I really try to be an inspiration to my pupils, children tend to have a very low belief in their actions and I strive to motivate through mine.  It was starting new trips and sports in school that got me thinking about starting new things for myself. A mate and I planned what has become an annual surfing trip to Newquay, this was the first time I had ever surfed and I was hooked instantly! So I bought my own board, roof racks, the works and now the other half gets dragged along on surfing holidays too!

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In September 2014 my Dad decided after 40 years of running that it was no longer enough of a challenge so he entered a local triathlon. Not wanting to be outdone I borrowed my partner’s bike and entered. I have always swam competitively since a young child so this part didn’t faze me but in the other two sections I was just waiting for the end. Turns out it all went pretty well and in the well renowned hardest sprint distance triathlon in the country I finished in second place.

I had caught the bug! I love training hard anyway but find competing in events gives me a focus and makes me push that little bit harder in every set. Through the year I have started to enjoy the Aquathlons more, mainly because it means no blagging 24km on a borrowed bike, obviously a massive bonus! After 2 further races which saw me get a 2nd and 4th under my belt I wanted to qualify for the National Championships, this meant another new thing; open water! I consider myself to be pretty tough and swimming in dark murky water doesn’t bother me, despite not liking pond weed touching my feet, but nothing could have prepared me for this swim! Swimming is my favourite thing to do ever but I hated it, I was in a borrowed Tri wetsuit so I was totally freezing, there were fish, I felt sea sick bobbing along in the waves, I just wanted to get out. But giving up is never an option so instead I held my own and fought back in the run to finish in second place. Not bad for my first OW attempt and that was it I was going to the National Championships and undertaking yet another new aspect… a sea swim. I was hoping for a better swim; I knew what to do now, I had the tactics going round and round in my head, I was going for clean water, ready and determined. I wouldn’t say it went perfectly and was my dream race but I was crowned Runner-up British Aquathlon Champion. I had done it, I had held my own against the best in the country – that is all I ever wanted and I am so proud! I don’t think any race goes without a hiccup, in this one I was stung across my neck by a jelly fish and had to go back in transition to get my race belt that I had forgotten to put on – who does that in the National Champs?! But it was fun, I was working hard and that’s what matters. Everything I do is due to pure 100% love of it and giving things ago, you never know what you can do until you try and you often surprise yourself.
Next step for me was the European championships in 2016. To have the opportunity to compete against the best in the world whilst representing the mighty GBR is so exciting and something that keeps me focused every night in training. It makes every muddy, sweaty, painful rep totally worth it.
Twitter is the best place for minute by minute action so be sure to pay @sjacksonhorner a visit to get the next part of this story….It’s going to be good!

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European championships 2016 6th place, 4th Brit