Bonjourno! It’s been a few weeks since we returned home from exploring Lake Como in Italy. I’ve wanted to visit Como for absolutely ages, I pitched the idea to Rob and Jude one evening back in March, they were both instantly sold on the idea of eating pizza whilst over looking a beautiful lake, so we booked our trip for school half term, which also coincides with out wedding anniversary. 8 years this year! Yikes, I’m actually pretty impressed with that.
We arrived in Milan and then drove from Malpensa Airport, north to Lake Como. The views on the drive were absolutely breath taking. The beautiful blue lake runs between dramatic green mountains. The route from the airport takes about ninety minutes. We arrived in Sant’Abbondio, to begin our Italian adventure.
We had never been to Lake Como before but I’d done a bit of research before our trip. I also searched the location tags on Instagram, so I had a good idea about what to expect. Now after visiting, I can honestly say that no photograph can really do justice to the relaxed, beautiful atmosphere of the lake.
We love traveling to new countries and although it’s really nice to just go on holiday and chill out, we also wanted to experience the place, soak up the vibe and learn about the lifestyle, the people and the language. So we set Jude (and ourselves) two challenges. First, was to find out ten interesting facts about Lake Como. Second, was to learn a new Italian word everyday. We tried to remember the words around the dinner table at night, the locals must have thought we were mad! Jude’s favourite was ‘Cane, means dog’.
Each day we drove or sailed to a new part of the lake. We visited the city of Como, home to Como Cathedral. I’d definitely recommend a visit to the Cathedral, it was one of the trips highlights for me. We took a ferry to Bellagio, a beautiful village known for it’s cobbled streets and elegant architecture. I spotted a lot of well dressed and super chic Italian women in Belaggio. Outfit goals!
Our favourite place, and where we spent the most time, was Menaggio, a small town on the western side of the lake. We ate so much pasta, pizza and gelato there! (FYI, they have dairy free! Hooray!)
I am currently marathon training, so most mornings, I got up and went out running whist Rob and Jude were having breakfast. I discovered a cycling path that ran along the side the lake. Every mile or so I had to stop, just to look around and take it all in.
I took advantage of the mountains too, by attempting a hill training session. Man, it was tough! I thought that my route at home had some undulation, but the hills along the lake are intense. Cycling is hugely popular in Italy. We saw lots of cycling teams racing along the roads. I’m not sure that I’d be able to take on those hills on a bike!
So, if you’re tempted to visit Lake Como this summer, here’s what you need to know…
Do – Hire a car. There are buses and trains around the lake but our trip was made much easier by having a car. We were able to visit the small provincial towns as well as driving up to the mountains. We hadn’t pre booked, we just hired a car on arrival in the airport. (€300 / 6 days)
Eat – Italian food is my favourite! Who doesn’t love pizza!? Most of the menu’s we’re written in both Italian and English. I noticed that lots of restaurants offered gluten free pizza and most places had dairy free options, including sorbet and gelato too
Drink – The local wine. I don’t usually drink at home, but when in Rome! Plus, when we arrived at our apartment, our host gave us a bottle of wine as a welcome gift. It would have been rude to not drink it. I’m not a wine expert so I’ll just say this… it was GREAT.
Buy – Fresh fruit and veg. There are lots of shops that sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Jude made friends with the shop keeper and we tried to learn some new words. On the last day we bought five jars of his homemade jam to bring back home to the UK as gifts.
Explore – The lake via ferry or speed boat! There are boat rental places along the harbour. Rob’s highlight of the trip was definitely taking us out in a speed boat. (The speed boat hire was €60 per hour, the ferry was €28 for 2 adults & 1 Child)
Our week in Como reminded me that the world is wide, life is short, and there are so many beautiful places that I’d love to visit. I’m so glad that I got to explore Lake Como with Rob and Jude.
I love Sunday’s as it’s usually the day when I get to spend time in my kitchen cooking and making snacks for the week. Today, I’ve got a veggie curry in the slow cooker and I also made these energy balls.
75g Almond Nuts
75g Cashew Nuts
1 Tbsp Cocoa
1 Tbsp Ground Flax
1 Tbsp Maca
2 Tbsp Nut Butter
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
*Don’t worry if you don’t have any Maca or Flax in your cupboard. They are optional but I add them as they are high in iron, zinc, magnesium & fibre.
Boil the kettle and pour 100mls of water on to the dates to soften them.
Drain the water, remove the stones and add the dates to the food processor.
Blend for 30 seconds
Add all of the ingredients to the food processor
Blend for 1 minute
Melt a little bit of coconut oil in your palm
Roll the mixture in your palm into a ball
Roll the ball through the sesame seeds
Store in the fridge.
Eat within 5 days (mine never last that long because we eat them all!)
*Did You KNOW? Sesame seeds are mega high in calcium, omega 3 & protein.
This week I’m training a lot so I’m trying to make sure I’m getting lots of iron and protein. These energy balls are full of the good stuff and they taste amazing. Winner!
Let me know if you give the recipe a try, hit me up on Twitter & Instagram @adrienne_ldn
Last night I spoke at a panel event in London hosted by Marie Claire magazine and Fabled Beauty. The discussion was all about wellness for both mind and body, specifically how to maximise your energy. I joined life coach, Nikki Armytage – Foy, & Co- Founder of Balanced Me Beauty, Rebecca Hopkins. The discussion was lead by Editor-in-chief of Marie Claire, Trish Halpin.
One of the questions that Trish asked me was;
‘Do you ever have days when you can’t face hitting the gym or going for a run? How do we motivate ourselves on those kind of days, and also when we’re just too busy to do it?’
So, of course I started off by saying ‘Yes, we all have those day.’ but then I started to think about this idea that we need to feel motivation in order to take action.
Often, I talk about motivation, how to initially find it and then how to keep it. Essentially I do my best to consistently encourage and to motivate others. Ironically, I’ve realised that motivation isn’t very useful at all. Motivation comes and goes. Motivation is never there when you need it the most. Motivation alone is not enough. But that’s okay because you don’t need to feel motivated in order to take action.
Personally, if I waited until I felt motivated to go for a run, I would probably run once each week. Right now I’m training for a marathon, so I need to run four times each week. I know that I won’t always feel super motivated, so instead I accept that I will need to be disciplined. Once you frame that expectation for yourself, it’s much easier to stick to your workout plan.
I hear a lot of people use the phrase ‘Listen to your body’. It’s easy for us to use this as an excuse when we’re not really feeling up to it. Of course I am not suggesting that you train if you are either ill or injured, but I believe that ‘listening to your body’ has become a bandaid.
If you truly want to listen to your body, it cannot just be when it suits you. For example, if you are tired and lethargic in the afternoon, the you may need to go to bed earlier, ditch the caffeine and focus on prioritising sleep for a few days. Listening to your body is really quite simple, but we ignore it again and again until the time comes to going out for a run. Suddenly we are so tuned in to how we feel and what our body has to say.
Have you ever thought that actually your mind is the master of your body. We know that our minds are incredibly powerful, yet often we let our bodies take the steering wheel. My personal struggle is sugar! I love all things sweet. Literally, the sweeter the better! I will say things like ‘I crave sweet things’ or ‘I’m addicted to sugar’. So, I recently started training myself to remember that my mind is the master of this body. I don’t have to give in to my feelings, cravings and my excuses. Sugar is bad for my teeth, it gives me spots and it effects the quality of my sleep. Bottom line is, it’s not good for you. (*shock & surprise) The same goes for anything that requires discipline. We already know what we should / shouldn’t do but there is a small step between knowledge and action.
I guess it would have been easy for to answer Trish’s question by saying, ‘We all have those days when we don’t feel motivated, it’s okay to skip your workout when you don’t feel like doing it, don’t worry about it.’ but I had to be honest, as I wanted the ladies listening to know that, motivation is kind of irrelevant. It may help to get you started but pretty soon you’re going to need a lot more than that to help you tackle your goals and achieve success.
So, let’s forget about finding motivation and let’s make the decision to take action.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one, as always you can hit me up on social media @adrienne_ldn
Thanks for having me @MarieClaireUK & @FabledBeautyCo
As a personal trainer and a Mum, I’m often asked for advice when it comes to pre and
postnatal fitness. Exercising whilst pregnant often sparks debate and many pregnant women are unsure of the do’s and don’ts. Nearly two thirds (60%) of the women surveyed said that they simply didn’t feel well informed about how to improve prenatal health and nearly half of women (47%) wrongly thought that running is risky during pregnancy.
So my advice is always this … Staying active during your pregnancy is good for you and your baby, and you can continue to exercise in the way that you normally do. For example, if you are a regular runner then it is totally fine to continue running, you may need to adjust your pace and your distance depending on how you feel throughout your pregnancy. However, I also add that this is not the time to start training in a new way. If you weren’t very active before your pregnancy, then I would suggest that you aim for lots of walking and antenatal yoga.
Studies show that exercising during pregnancy has health benefits for both mother and baby. It can help your baby’s heart and brain to develop as well as helping to boost your energy levels and reduce feelings of depression. When I was pregnant, none of my friends had babies, I found that going to antenatal fitness classes was a great way to meet other mums to be. Personally, for me, exercising wasn’t about training for aesthetic goals or because I felt any pressure to ‘stay in shape’, I really enjoy exercising, it’s a part of my life and it makes me feel more energised. Moving and breathing is just as good for your mind as it is for your body.
I wish that Aptaclub was available for me when I was pregnant. It’s great because it gives you all the info and the stats from qualified fitness professionals and doctors. Their latest
campaign Active For 2, has been created to help educate pregnant women about the benefits of exercise and to show them how to stay active safely during their pregnancy.
If and when I am pregnant again, I will definitely do my best to stay active. I feel really
passionately about sharing this information because I know that pregnancy can be so
daunting, especially the first time. Often women are made to feel guilty about their choices both in pregnancy and in motherhood. All of us mums are of course trying to do our best. The bottom line is, keep on moving Mamas!
What is the power hour? Why am I obsessed with talking about it?
If you follow me on social media, then you’ll know that I get up early everyday and that the first hour of each day is my ‘Power Hour’. Over the last twelve months, I’ve hosted a series of talks at live events, conferences and festivals. I’m constantly talking about the ‘Power Hour’ and the dramatic impact that it has had on own life. Recently, other people have started to email me or direct message me on Instagram, to tell me how the ‘Power Hour’ has changed their lives too.
So, first up, what is the ‘Power Hour’?
The Power Hour is the first hour that you are awake each day. What you do with that time is completely up to you, but I believe that is the most powerful hour of the day and that it has the potential to set up the rest of your day for either success or failure. We now live in a world that is completely overwhelming us with distractions, information, ideas, opinions and choices. How are we supposed to focus or even form our own ideas when we are drowning in all that noise?
When we are asleep, our minds are processing our subconscious thoughts, whilst at the same time our bodies are resting, we are literally recharging and renewing our cells. So when we first wake up, our minds and our bodies are at their very best. (Assuming that we’ve had enough sleep) That first hour after you wake up is so special.
Now, think about how you spend that time. Are you moving your body by exercising and getting your blood pumping? Are you stretching, waking up your body and breathing deeply?
Are you waking up your mind by reading, learning, writing, drawing, getting those creative juices flowing?
How do you feel? Do you feel rested? Do you feel inspired, motivated and ready to get the most out of the day?
Maybe this is the first time that you’ve ever really considered the first hour of your day, or maybe you have a morning routine that you repeat out of habit or necessity.
I first began to evaluate my morning habits in January of last year. At the time I was training to run my first marathon as well working as a personal trainer, building my own digital platforms and managing family commitments. Like most of the women that I know, I constantly felt like I needed more time and that there simply weren’t enough hours in each day. Especially as my marathon training was demanding more and more time and the runs were getting longer every week. At that time I was also listening to a lot of podcasts, one of my favourites is Lewis Howes ‘The School of Greatness’, I highly recommend that you check that out, I was also listening to the audio book ‘7 Habits of highly successful people’ by Steven Covey. One thing that stood out to me, in a lot of the stories that I was listening to, there was a common theme. Almost every single successful person, whether they were a professional athlete, a CEO of a billion pound company or a best selling author, they all attribute a huge proportion of their success to their morning routine. They don’t wake up, reach out for their phone, turn of the alarm and then scroll through Instagram for twenty minutes before getting out of bed. They are considered about what they are doing. They have already planned what they are going to do with their first hour. Maybe that’s running, maybe it’s meditation, or maybe it’s having a shower, listening to your favourite music and having breakfast with you partner and your kids.
You choose. You don’t just wake up and act by default. You choose.
I wrote a post last year… 6 Reasons To Get Up at 6. I realised that I needed to get up earlier in order to make time for some kind of morning routine possible. (I’ll be completely honest with you, it is a lot easier to start practicing this in spring and summer than it is to get up at 6am in the dark of winter.) Very quickly, I started to see a dramatic impact in my daily productivity, my mood and my energy levels, and I became more motivated too.
Since then, I have adjusted my morning routine to help me reach my personal and professional goals. Somedays I get up at 5.45am to run, somedays I open my laptop and write a blog post or reply to emails. I’m currently using my power hour to work my first Tedx talk. Sometimes, I use the the extra hour to cook or to do laundry. I know it sounds kinda crazy, but it is honesty life changing. I allow more time to get ready, and give my son more time too. Jude is six years old, like me, he can be very easily distracted, I often have to remind him at least four times to get dressed. He’ll put one sock on and then start reading a book or playing with lego. (I’m practicing patients with this) I don’t like to start the day by rushing him and telling him to hurry up because we have to leave the house in three minutes. It’s not Jude’s fault if we are running late, kids have no concept of time, it’s my fault. Getting up before him gives us more time and makes our mornings way less stressful.
If you’re reading this and thinking that it sounds too easy, let me just be real and say that it has taken me a year to get here. It’s taken a lot of practice and I still have days when I turn of my alarm and sit on the end of the bed staring at the wall like a zombie. It’s not like I cartwheel out of bed everyday! (admittedly, somedays I do) But, once you commit to it and you get into a habit, it is SO worth it. Not convinced? I encourage you to try it for two weeks and see for yourself.
What about sleep?
The next question I get asked is ‘What time do you go to bed? Well… I’ll write about that next week. What I will say is that getting enough sleep is an absolute game changer. If you’re relying on caffeine and sugar to make it through the day, then you’re probably not getting enough.
Let me know if you’re gonna give the ‘Power Hour’ a go, hit me up on Twitter & Instagram @adrienne_ldn
This spring I’ve teamed up with VeryUK to share my ‘Everyday Life Goals’ aka the simple things in my life that make a really big difference!
My life is mega busy right now! I’m working on lots of different projects, preparing for our next Get To KNOW event, training for a marathon, and Jude is at home for two weeks as it’s school Easter holidays. I am forever trying to ensure a good work life balance but it’s a struggle. If I notice myself getting stressed out or overwhelmed, then I have to take a step back, log out of my email account and spend a few hours doing something fun.
Here are my favourite ways to boost your mood and get you mojo back…
I absolutely love listening to music! Whether I’m cooking at home, driving to the city, or out running in the morning, I’ve always got a playlist ready. If I’m feeling a little flat, I’ll listen to my diva playlist, turn it up loud and sing along at the top of my voice. Starting the day with Whitney and Mariah is always guaranteed to put me in a good mood. (I’m not sure that my neighbours would agree.)
I can’t sit still for too long, it’s not good for my creativity or my productivity. So, if my to-do list is mega long, I schedule breaks and I use these breaks to move. Often I’ll go out for a fifteen minute walk, getting outside everyday is essential for good mental health. If I’m in inside then I’ll just do some squats, lunges and downward dogs in the hallway. I have to make time to move, it helps me to stop and reset, and it always boosts my mood. FYI that’s why I’m always wearing leggings! These black ones are adidas from VeryUK.
Anyone that’s ever met me for longer than thirty seconds will know that I love to talk! Whilst I’m aware that this isn’t always a good thing, I’ve accepted that it’s just who I am. I love to talk and I love to be around people. If I’m mega busy working, even tho a lot of my work is very social, I also have days when I’m at home alone, chained to my laptop for six hours straight or days when I have to wait in airport for four hours on my own.
I know that talking always lifts me up and boosts my mood, I am Little Miss Chatterbox. I spend enough time typing so if you need to get my attention, forget WhatsApp, just call me baby!
Brighten up your day. It’s impossible to feel flat when you’re wearing a bright red jumper or a pair of lemon yellow jeans. I’m not sure about the exact science behind it, but I encourage you to try it and see for yourself.
Try something new, change your routine, shake things up. If you’re really struggling to get out of a bad mood, try doing something totally brand new. When I was younger, I always used to love moving my bedroom furniture around. It felt like I was creating a new space for myself, just by pushing my bed over to the other side of the room. Now though, if I need a change, it could just be getting my hair cut, buying something new to wear, like this burnt red adidas hoody form Very which I’m loving! or reading a fiction book. Change is good.
So that’s it, I hope that you’ll try out a couple of these, next time you need a boost. Here are a few more snaps of my athleisure outfit from VeryUK.