#TravelexTourist- how would you spend $150 in London?

Friday, January 29, 2016

One of the hardest things I found when adjusting to life in the UK was converting dollars into pounds.  I was used to living in a small college town in Michigan, where my friends were all pH students and I had a 'proper' job.  Living in London was a complete 180 from this.  It has taken me 3 years to stop converting prices back into dollars to help me gauge the costs of things.

I was really excited when Travelex USA contacted me to see how far $150 would go in London.  I am always looking for a good deal, as well as up for exploring new neighbourhoods in town.  It was really easy to pick up my card from a Travelex kiosk.  I chose BHS near Oxford Circus as it was easy to get to from work and near one of my favourite shops in London.

Based on exchange rates of the day, my $150 converted to £108.41.  I took my card and immediately headed over to Liberty.

Liberty, started in 1845 is located in a magnificent Tudor building just behind Oxford Circus, this department store showcases unique products made by British business.  I headed straight to the haberdashery department to pursue the walls of fabric. Liberty is famous for their 'Liberty print' which is floral. Nike collaborates with Liberty too offering shoes and apparel in a modern Liberty print.  After several laps around the department, I got a pack of fat quarters to make my first quilt for only £20.  

Next, I decided to see London from a different point of view by signing up for yoga at the top of the Shard with Yogasphere for £40.  The class is 60 minutes long and mats are provided. Up to 60 people can take part the class is followed by 30 minutes of private viewing time plus a goody bag worth £100 on your way out.  It was sunny the morning I did it, and it was amazing to be warmed with sunshine while working on  my flow.  Yogasphere even uses Travelex for their yoga retreats abroad too!  What a small world

After yoga, I took a very short walk over to Borough Market for a schmorgasbord of food and drink choices (various prices).  If you are a foody or like trying new things, I highly recommend visiting this iconic market.  I picked up a hot chocolate and soft pretzel for £5.25.  From here, you can head over for a walk or run along the Southbank (free but if you want to run at a good pace, go early in the morning to avoid strolling tourists). You will see The Globe, St Paul's and London Eye if you go all the way to Westminster Bridge and Big Ben.


After Borough Market and the Southbank, I stopped home to change, picked up James, and we headed to the London Zoo (£20.70 each for adults for off-peak season).  I have only been 2 times in the 5 years I have lived in London (James hasn't been the entire time we have lived here) but I am an animal nerd.  I love zoos and aquariums.  We ended up walking over 5km checking out the different exhibits and listening to a talk about giraffes.  It was nice to spend time with James too as marathon training has been taking over my life as of late.

Hard to get a selfie with lemurs on
the  move.
After the zoo, we walked down to Daunt Books on Marylebone Street to look at books.  We have too many but always seem to find room for one more.  It is fantastic for browsing, with a huge travel section and really knowledgeable staff.

In total, I spent £106.65 and really enjoyed visiting a few of my favourite places in London while trying something new.

Here are two more tips I have for making your money go a little bit further in London:

For something free to do, I suggest visiting the Science Museum. This museum currently has a free exhibit on Craving: Can your food control you?  In the same neighbourhood, you can also visit the V&A Museum (lovely centre garden with fountain for sunny days) and the Natural History Museum.

You cannot come to London without seeing a show. However, you can easily spend over £100 on a pair of tickets. Use lastminute.com or visit the TKTS booth to get a deal on theatre if you don't mind what you see. I recommend Bend it Like Beckham for a sporty-themed show.  Sadler's Wells showcases dance performances- from ballet, to hip hop, to flamenco.  You will be amazed at the athleticism of the dancers.

If you had £100 to spend in London, what would you do?  What tips do you have for making the money last a bit longer?

Benefits of sports nutrition suppliments

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

If you are training for any sort of sporting event, or even if you are just exercising to stay fit and healthy, you will know the importance of what you put in your mouth and just how much of an effect it can have on your training. Sports Nutrition supplements can be incredibly effective at ensuring that you are getting the correct vitamins and supplements that your body requires. These can help you train and perform at your very best.

One of the most popular sports nutrition supplements is D-Ribose. Ribose is a form of sugar that is produced by the body, and has been used to improve athletic performance, as well as helping those suffering from certain illnesses and diseases, such as chronic fatigue system. Although research is continuing into its effectiveness, many people believe that taking Ribose supplements can improve muscle strength, as well as providing extra energy to the heart when exercising. D-Ribose is not a vitamin supplement. Cells do manufacture it for themselves; however, when you are in training for a sports event they simply do not produce enough to keep up with the demand, which is why taking additional supplements can be incredibly beneficial during training.

Deer Antler Velvet is incredibly popular among body builders, and is a spray that is used underneath the tongue. If taken regularly in the correct doses, it can help a number of different conditions, as well as aid in sports training. Deer Antler Velvet is, is produced from the antlers of deer, moose, caribou and elk. It contains calcium, magnesium, zinc and amino acids, as well as an anti-inflammatory property. It is this anti-inflammatory property that regulates the rate of metabolism, as well as preventing inflammation of the joints, which can make exercise a lot easier. It has long been used in Chinese medicine, and many studies have suggested its effectiveness when training.

Finally, we will take a look at Garcinia Cambogia, which, unlike the others actually aids weight loss, which will help you to achieve faster results when they are being combined with an exercise routine. Garcinia is a native Indonesian pumpkin like fruit, that has been used in cooking for hundreds and hundreds of years. Only over the last couple of years has Garcinia Cambogia Extract been used as a dietary supplement, and has been found to be incredibly effective at suppressing your appetite causing you to eat less, aiding your diet and weight loss routine. When taken before a meal, this wonderful supplement can help to strengthen your immune system; lower your cholesterol as well as improve your metabolism. Just like all other supplements, it is most effective when used alongside a healthy eating and exercise routine, which is why it is so popular with sports nutritionists.

There are many ways in which sports nutrition supplements can help aid your workout, and all of the above can be found here.

This post was provided by naturesupplies.co.uk.  Please consult your doctor before changing your diet and/or taking supplements.

Be bright. Be seen.

Monday, January 25, 2016

My marathon training is getting more intense as I rapidly approach my peak week. That means I am running before and after work, often before the sun (and my husband) are up.  I am a firm believer in being visible when walking, running, or cycling in the dark (you can read my tips here on my blog or here on H2 Life Blog). Here are a few example of lights I am trying out on my runs.

Nathan Light Spur- The little U shaped light has small 'spikes' to make sure it stays attached to your shoe.  There are a few flash combinations and hasn't fallen off.  There is a little bit of a squeeze on your heel but you get used to it. I combine it with a small red light light (Pulsar Strobe, also from Nathan Sports) for my laces to ensure visibility from both front and back  You could also use these lights while cycling or walking.

Nathan Sports lights with flash
Nathan Sport lights in action

Million Mile- I found their Kickstarter campaign on Twitter and pledged my support. There are several different case and light colour combos, which I selected after the campaign was funded. I love that these 'run' on kinetic energy so no battery required.  It lights up when you are running because of the shaking motion. They are very light to run with- I didn't notice them at all (I had one on the side of my bum bag and the other on the front belt.  I think you could use these lights for cycling if you attach them to your pannier bags to get the required shaking motion. I also tried them on my dog's collar but they only lit up when he was running, not walking.  Have a look at this video of me demonstrating how the lights work when moving.


Night Runner 270- These were introduced to me by a fellow RODS Racing team member. Rather than wear a headlamp for night running, you simply clip these on your feet to light the path ahead of you. When I first tried them on my shoes, I thought they were too floppy.  But I didn't notice them at all when running.  They have a low and high mean setting and can flash too.  I will definitely be bringing them with me to Spitfire Scramble in the summer! I am not sure if you can use while cycling as I think they will confuse drivers. A few people in the park commented on them on my evening dog walk tonight.  Night Runner 270 are also a company supported by a Kickstarter campaign.  The power of the internet is amazing, isn't it?

Night Runner 270 in the light
Night Runner 270 in the dark


Night Runner 270 from behind
If you want some more ideas on what to wear in the winter for visibility and warm, check out Halfords cycling essentials guide to make sure you are properly kitted out for winter riding. Don't let cold weather and dark mornings keep you from being healthy! Halfords also are having an end of season sale on their cycling shoes if you are in need of a pair for spin class or outdoor cycling. Be sure you check what kind of clips are compatible with your bike before buying.
Nathan Sports and Night Runner kindly gifted me their products. All opinions are honest and my own. Million Mile sent me lights based on my level of support for their Kickstarter campaign.

The post was sponsored by Halford's.

Practice what you preach

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hello 2016! I hope you had a marvelous holiday season and are ready to take 2016 by storm.  If you want some tips on setting SMART goals you can read my article here and on the H2 Life Blog here.

If you are a regular visitor, you know I preach a lot about work-life balance and doing what you love. Reflecting upon 2015, it was a year of big swings around the center line in my life that I would call balance. I ran my first marathon, bought a flat and moved to East London (which affected my commute time), blogged a lot more, trained clients face-to-face a bit less, offered more value to the virtual services I offer, and my day job got much busier too.

By the end of 2015, I was not happy. Not enough hours in the day to do it all so something has to give in 2016. And unfortunately it's the blog.

The website will remain as this is where potential clients can come for more info about my services.  I will be writing occasional updates but my time needs to go into training if I plan on successfully completing all my races this year. Strength training is lacking right now and I am starting to get slight niggles. I will still write up race reports but product reviews will be limited (I still have a few to do from 2015 so keep an eye out for those). My day job is going to be insane in 2016 as we move across London into a new building and merge teams from several different companies.  I hope 2017 will bring a bit more time for blogging once the move is complete.

A photo posted by Mollie millington (@ptmollie) on

The plan is to continue fitness and health writing for other publications, like PT Magazine, during 2016 and I am available for freelance work if you are looking for someone.  I have a few commitments from 2015 to post about still, but it might be a bit quiet after that (posting once a week instead of 3+).

If you would like to try my digital training services (starting at £25/month) please get in touch (mollie@ptmollie.com) and I can give you half off the first month as a trial. All you need a smartphone and Internet access.

Thank you for visiting my site. To keep better tabs on me during 2026, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Strava.

A photo posted by Mollie millington (@ptmollie) on