Wednesday, 28 September 2016

BORN SURVIVOR MANCHESTER: MUD, SWEAT AND TEARS

(Before I start- can I just state that there were NO tears! It just sounded good in the title ok.)

Until my personal trainer, James brought it up, I had never heard of Born Survivor. He is always encouraging and pushing me to challenge myself and step outside my comfort zone, so willingly I signed up- WITHOUT checking the obstacle course out first. HUGE MISTAKE NUMBER ONE.

Born Survivor is a 10km obstacle course designed by ex-Royal Marines and includes over 30 EPIC obstacles, similar to those used in actual military training. So yeah, you could say it looked pretty challenging :| 

Oh and the mud. But I'll come to that part later.

With regards to the training, I didn't actually do anything more than I usually do in the gym (HUGE MISTAKE NUMBER TWO). I generally go about three times a week and do a mixture of spinning, Bodypump, free weights, running and ab circuits. I crammed in two extra 8km runs on the week of the event as a last minute attempt to up my endurance but in hindsight- the only thing that could have made the day slightly easier was if my legs suddenly doubled in length and I had gone for a few extra minutes on the sunbeds beforehand (unflattering photos, if anyone was wondering how this would make a difference to my fitness.)

I was pretty excited to get going if I'm honest - I was in a massive team of people from my gym so I had expectations of a fun day! We arrived and got kitted out with our tattoos and headbands and started rallying each other up at the start line. The first couple of obstacles were fine- one included an army-style crawl under barbed wire so I got a little bit dirty but HOLY HELL that was nothing compared to what was coming up...


No you aren't looking at Stig of the Dump-  that is me almost getting swallowed whole by a muddy swamp. I'm not joking- at one point my life was flashing before my eyes and I thought it was the end. I was stuck up to my CHEST in thick mud, and the more I tried to free myself, the further I got stuck. Cut a long story short (well, it was prob about 5 seconds but to me it felt like hours) I had 3 people on each leg trying to pull me out, two random girls pulling my arms and a by from my team pulling my body to try and get me out. Mortifying to say the least, but I lived to tell the tale.

About 7km into the course, I was absolute buzzing to see my parents at the side of the  monkey-bars! Bit embarrassing that they didn't recognise their own daughter for about 45 seconds (the fact my beautiful blonde hair had turned into one thick brown deadlock might have been the giveaway) but it really gave me the motivation to dig that little bit deeper!!!!.... Just a shame I flopped straight in after the first bar. LOL. My Dad is OBSESSED with taking photos, so he did his best to keep up with me so he could video my journey, my mum lagging behind with the iPad. I had a quick look through her pics in the car after and 99% are of the grass or her shoes, bless her. Probably a good thing as I don't imagine I'm going to be updating my Facebook profile pic to one of me KO'ed in a bog with mud in my teeth anytime soon, thanks.


Obstacle number 31(!!!!!!) was 'The Blitz' - a huge wall that you had to run up and grab the top to haul yourself over. It was where the majority of the crowd was, so if you missed and slid back down you may as well have just pretended to be dead to save the embarrassment. 
Did I do it first time I hear you ask?  OF COURSE I DID! *smug face*


It took just under three hours to complete, but the feeling of standing on that winners podium with the rest of my team made it all so worth it! (And even more worth it when I was tucking in to an absolute FEAST from Domino's later on that night!) Stepping out of your comfort zone is so rewarding- especially when you are part of such an incredible group of people! 

So, the big question- would I do it again? HELL NO. Ok, I'm exaggerating slightly. Even though I am still partially blind, deaf in one ear, covered in bruises and still brushing the dreads out my hair, I probably would! Especially now that I know what I'm letting myself in for (the mud!!!!!!) And luckily for me, the next events start in May 2017, so I have plenty of time to recover/forget how tough it was so I can naively sign up again.

Have you done the Born Survivor before? How did you find it?
To take on the challenge yourself, head over to the website here > http://www.born-survivor.com/

Friday, 2 September 2016

A (KIND OF) BARCELONA TRAVEL GUIDE

Ok, so the title is a LITTLE bit optimistic. Last week I went to Barcelona with my best friend Sarah. I'm not gonna lie, the whole 6 days are an absolute blur (in the best way!) Although the majority of my weeks activities are definitely NOT suitable for the blog, there are a few places that I had to share with you all!



Firstly- the hotel. WOW. We stayed at the Barcelo Raval for three reasons- 1. The Trip Advisor ratings, obv. 2. The location. It was a 5-10 minute walk from Las Ramblas (the main strip in Barca) 3. THE ROOF TOP POOL! #slayin.
The interior of the hotel was really quirky and modern and impeccably clean. I loved the dramatic contrast between the black and the pink and all the unique lighting! There was a huge life-size statue of a black acrylic horse in the lobby which was just fabulous. At night the security guard stood by it and I couldn't help wondering if he ever gets tired and just mounts it for a bit of a lol.
The staff were also a major asset to the hotel. They were soooo friendly and attentive, (especially cos me and Sazzle didn't have a clue what the time or day was half the time) Due to our early flight, we arrived a couple of hours before we could check into our room, but instead of being told to wait, we were upgraded to a junior suite! It had a huuuuuuuuge bed and this huge shower that was right next to the bed. *nudge nudge wink wink*

Roof top chillin'
In fact, I loved the hotel so much that I even created a Trip Advisor account and wrote a review. *paints nails emoji*



We attended DGTL festival on the Saturday. Unfortunately this sweaty, double-chinned, underwear flashing, weirdly happy photo is the only one I have- not the best I've got to admit but I think it pretty much sums up the first day!




BRUNCH AND CAKE- Probably the most Instagrammable cafe ever. If you visit Barcelona you HAVE to eat here. I was recommended to go by a friend and oh my word I am so glad I did! They don't take reservations, so you have to try and go at a non-peak time (i.e NOT lunch time, unlike us). We were waiting for about 45 minutes but it was so worth it. I ordered the smoked salmon and scrambled egg bagel, which came with curried hummus, watermelon and a lil side salad with feta. I also got a superfood smoothie, I forgot the flavour but it has dates and almond milk and cocao and tasted like HEAVEN.



Although we didn't do ANY tourist-y things (oops) I was determined to visit La Boqueria after seeing the same bloody picture of those smoothies on Instagram all summer. And voila- my very own! I'm not gonna lie, we were only actually inside La Boqueria for about 10 minutes because we were both reeeeeally hungover and as soon as we clocked a skinless sheep's head chilling on display we had to get the F outta there. 

We decided to pop into MakaMaka on our way home from a hard day's tanning at the beach, but after a bit of research, I have noticed it popping up in everyones Barcelona recommendations! It's a burger place just off the beach, and the food is insane. I ordered the Caribbean chicken salad which has looooooads of avocado, and Sarah got the topless burger and an obligatory Fanta Limon. (Are you REALLY on holiday if you aren't drinking Fanta Limon though?) We also got the 'hummus threesome' (lol) to share and oh my god I could eat this for every meal for the rest of my life. The flavours were beetroot, caramelised onion and apple and hazelnut. APPLE AND HAZELNUT HUMMUS. Don't knock it before you've tried it!

We also had a fabulous meal at Gallito which is just by the famous W hotel, and some delicious tapas at Taller de Tapas in Rambla Catalunya. I didn't manage to take any photos because I was too busy getting absolutely hammered on the vodka sodas. The waiter pours the vodka at your table and I think ours forgot how much a measure was because it seemed to be 95% vodka, 4% soda and a slither of lime thrown in as garnish. I wasn't complaining though!























So, my personal Barcelona travel guide is a little bit thin on the ground, but I definitely can see why it is so many people's favourite city in the world. I can not WAIT to go back. Until next time, Barca!

Have you visited Barcelona? What was your favourite thing to do/eat/see?