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I don’t know about you, but I just love Autumn!

The crunch of freshly fallen leaves, LONG BATHS, lighting your favourite candles, HALLOWEEN, Bonfires, that extra cup of coffee, COSY SCARVES, smashing conkers, CARVING PUMPKINS, wearing bobble hats, sipping your daily PSL, pumpkin spice everything, WARM APPLE CRUMBLE, cinnamon, random walks, SITTING BY THE FIRE, switching the heating on for the first time that year, THE WALKING DEAD, butternut squash, toffee apples (shhh!), CHUNKY KNITS, Oh and not forgetting it’s nearly Christmas … I could go on.

And if I’ve not got you in the mood for Autumn already, then maybe these pumpkin spiced cupcakes will do it.

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They’re gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free and are delicious on their own or topped with pumpkin ‘icing’ or even my simple coconut ‘icing’ with a big sprinkle of cinnamon. I like to enjoy mine as an mid morning snack with a large frothy coffee.

Pumpkin Spiced Cupcakes
Yields 8
A delicious Autumnal cupcake made with pumpkin spice and topped with real pumpkin.
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For the cupcakes
  1. 1 cup Rye Flour
  2. 1/2 cup Coconut Sugar
  3. 1/2 cup Coconut Oil (softened)
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 tsp Baking Soda
  6. 1-2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  7. 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
  8. 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  9. 1-2 Tbsp Milk (Almond, soya, dairy)
For the 'Icing'
  1. 1/2 cup Coconut Cream (from the top of a can)
  2. 1/2 cup mashed Pumpkin (I used tinned)
  3. 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180°c
  2. Cream together the Coconut Sugar, Coconut Oil, Vanilla Essence and Maple Syrup
  3. Beat in the 2 eggs
  4. Sieve the Rye Flour, Baking Powder & Pumpkin Spice into the bowl and fold in the mixture
  5. Add Milk a bit at a time until a runny consistency
  6. Line muffin tray with cupcake cases
  7. Add 1-2 heaped tsp mixture into each case (depending on the size)
  8. Heat in the oven for 15-18mins
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool
For the 'Icing'
  1. Beat the coconut cream, pumpkin and maple syrup
  2. Use mixture to top cupcakes
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin spice mix
My Big Fit Diary http://www.mybigfitdiary.com/
 Notes:

  1. If you don’t have any Pumpkin Spice mix then you can make some at home using my recipe here 

      2. If you’re a lover of pumpkin spice but aren’t too keen on the pumpkin itself you can make a simple diary free icing using 

  1. Coconut cream (from the top of the tin)
  2. 1 tbsp maple syrup
  3. Desiccated coconut

(Or even just top with full sugar icing with added pumpkin spice for a special treat!)

As always, let me know if you make this recipe and what you think. And I’d also love to hear your favourite things about this time of the year.

Enjoy!

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This time last week I spent a lovely Autumn’s morning at the incredible Hale Country Club & Spa, where I was invited by My Protein to celebrate the launch of their new Active Women Range.  

On arrival at the venue we were taken through to the lounge area where we were greeted with coffee, pre-workout shakes; and the chance to meet some fellow bloggers. It was lovely to see that My Protein had invited a range of bloggers, from fitness & food to beauty & fashion – proving that protein isn’t just important for the super fit bikini bod competitors, but for your every day active woman.

We were then treated to what can only be described as a ‘spicy’ abs session. Now as you guys know, I’m a Crossfitter & Weightlifter and haven’t stepped foot into a ‘normal’ gym for nearly 3 years now, so I was a little a lot out of my comfort zone. I needn’t have worried though as the trainer was so welcoming and had everyone literally beaming through the class – I honestly haven’t laughed my way through a workout like that for a while (well until we had to do hundreds of bicycle crunches!!) seriously, I wish every Friday could start like that!

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Once we had finished the class it was back down to the lounge for more networking and, lets be honest, what we had all been waiting for… the food.

First things first, we were given a delicious post workout shake which had been made by blending Coconut Water, Banana, Pineapple and Coconut Yoghurt with the Active Women Pineapple and Coconut Vegan blend to really bring out the products key flavours. Cheshire based foodie The Raw Artisan was also on hand to help satisfy our post workout needs with some delicious raw goodies, which had also been made using ingredients from the range. I was especially a fan of the chai and chocolate bites which had just the right amount of kick.

The Power of Protein

The kings of protein (or should it be queens now?!) couldn’t let us leave without a presentation on protein and it’s importance for women.

Now I can often get defensive when it comes to ‘women specific’ sports nutrition, especially when a range features products with the word ‘diet’ on them (not EVERY woman wants to be on a diet!!!), but when the question ‘who thinks protein makes you bulky’ was asked and at least one of the girls put her hand up I realised there were still a lot of misconceptions in women’s fitness so it’s a great thing that My protein are highlighting the importance of protein for women (even if I’m not a fan of the ‘diet’ marketing tactic!).

During the presentation we learnt all about the range and how the products were high in protein, low in calories and fat and had reduced sugar content and added dietary fibre – sounds good right?! We were also taught about some of the lesser known ingredients in the products including sea kelp to help improve thyroid function and coconut water powder with electrolytes to help reduce cramps.

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At the end of the event we were given some goodie bags full of protein treats to take away and try – I’ve obviously made my way through the bag already and I’m definitely going to try more of the range, in fact, I’ve already ordered some of the vegan blend protein powder and coconut & collagen tablets (I’ll let you know how I get on in round 2!).

The goodie bag also contained some product from Mio Skicare – another of the Hut Groups brands. I’ve heard rave reviews about their products and have always wanted to try them myself so was super excited to be gifted the Mio Workout Wonderball. I’ve been using this the past week and only have good things to say about it! I roll it over my back and shoulders after a workout and it instantly gives an intense cooling sensation to help soothe tired muscles, and the spearmint in it provides a lovely relaxing scent.

My protein were also kind enough to gift us with some new active wear (we were spoilt). The colours of the items are absolutely beautiful especially for Autumn and I can’t wait to wear them, however, I have to say that the quality of the pants isn’t great (sorry MyP) so if you are after something that will stay with you throughout a sweaty Crossfit session or Tough Mudder then I’d think again (especially if you are conscious of a see through bottom). But if it’s a core blimey session or a stylish outfit to wear to brunch with your fitfam, you can’t go wrong.

I’d love to hear if you’ve tried any products from the range yet and what you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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About four months ago we successfully walked up Snowdon on what was probably the hottest day of the year. It was long and it was sweaty but it was so much fun and as we reached the summit we were already thinking about our next adventure. Scafell Pike.

Scafell Pike is quite simply the highest point in England, sitting (or rather standing) at 978 metres above sea level. Located in the beautiful Lake District National Park in Cumbria, where the surroundings quite literally take your breath away. It’s such a peaceful and magical place which made me fall in love with Britain all over again.

For all you budding walkers, climbers and adventurers out there read on to find out everything you need to know about completing Scafell Pike, from where to stay to what route to take, right through to where to have your celebratory meal.

Where:

We stayed in a beautiful little place called Wasdale, which is quite literally the most remote place I have ever visited. Even the drive was Manchester was a mini adventure in itself. It took just over an hour on the motorway until we hit the start of the Lakes. We then spent another hour and a half driving through the countryside, up and over hills, down winding roads and through quaint country villages. There were times we went over hills not knowing what was over the other side and we even had to stop to guide some cute (and utterly fearless) sheep off the road.

Wasdale itself has some of the best neighbours in England, from the highest peak to the deepest lake; not forgetting the famous walking pub, The Wasdale Head Inn.

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'Camping':

Now, I’m no camper. Don’t get me wrong, I love being outside but I also love a little home comfort, so the Wasdale National Trust Campsite was a great place to stay as it has 7 heated pods that you can hire, which are essentially wooden ‘tents’ with a small heater and a lamp. Nothing special but just enough comfort for us city folk! The facilities at the campsite are pretty decent – with showers, toilets, a small shop and a pop up cafe on the Saturday which sold tea, coffee, bacon/veggie rolls and porridge – just make sure you take a little cash with you.

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Route:

We had planned to take the longer 14km route up Scafell but when we woke in the morning visibility wasn’t great, plus it was set to rain later in the day (and rain it did). So, being the sensible folk that we are, we decided to take the most direct route up to the peak. This route took us around 3.5 hours altogether with the ascent taking much longer than descent. But bear in mind, it may be the most direct route but it was definitely much steeper, and more challenging at times, especially as you neared the top.

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Clothing:

Being a regular walker I was already pretty well equipped. I wore my Berghaus jacket and my trusty Trespass boots along with my regular gym gear. You might want to wear waterproof trousers which many of my group did, however, I’m much more comfortable in leggings. My number one tip for the walk is layers. It my feel like summer at the bottom but trust me, by the time you reach the top you’ll swear it’s the middle of winter as it quickly goes from sun to cloud. You might even want to take gloves and a hat (just make sure it’s securely on your head or you may well lose it to the strong winds).

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Food:

I personally struggle to eat when I’m doing anything active. I had planned to be good and have some oats before I left but ended up eating some breakfast biscuits washed down with a coffee instead. We did make sure we were fully stocked for the climb though, with plenty of water and snacks including our favourite rice cakes and plenty of soreen. After we’d completed our climb we obviously had to reward ourselves in the pub with far too much wine and comfort food at the Wasdale Head. I chose the vegetarian lasagne with garlic bread, chips and salad, followed by a huge sticky toffee pudding and ice-cream. Well deserved I thought!

Scafell Pike blog

Scafell Pike My Big fit diary

Scafell Pike Summit

Highest point in england

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Take home message:

Climbing Scafell Pike is something that I think everyone in England should do. It brought me a great sense of gratitude and I was able to put everything into perspective. It’s the perfect place to get off the grid, switch off (there is NO SERVICE!) and spend some quality time bonding with friends (old and new).

The world is truly a wonderful place and we should always seek beauty in everything we see and do.

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Have you climbed Scafell Pike? How did you get on? Let me know in the comments below or tag me in any pics on Twitter or Instagram.

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If you’ve ever competed in a Crossfit competition then you’ll know it’s tough. 

First there’s the months of hard work you’ll put in at the gym; training once, or maybe even twice a day. You’ll spend that time honing your technique and working on your engine, ready for what ever wod gets thrown your way. Then there’s the time spent in the kitchen, dialling in your nutrition to help fuel your body through this brutal training (and to get lean as f***, of course). Not to mention your daily rom wod, supplementation plan and potentially some hours spent in the pool trying to learn a new skill – tires me out just thinking about it!

But have you ever planned for your recovery?

I’m guessing not (I’m speaking from experience here). In fact, you’ve probably thought about your post comp treat meal more than you’ve thought about your post comp recovery. 

So what should you be doing to make sure you’re well rested post comp and ready to get back to the gym (and training for your next competition) in no time.

MOVE – This is one for the day itself – your recovery starts here. You may have just completed a mammoth grinder or pushed yourself so hard in 5 mins that you think you might burst, but that doesn’t mean you can sit down. Make sure you’re keeping mobile between wods. Walk, mobilise, roll, stretch or even crawl. Just KEEP MOVING.

REST– And I mean, the do very little sort of rest and definitely not back in the gym within 24 hours. For the rest of the day and perhaps even the following day you’ll want to rest pretty hard, maybe walk the job and mobilise but then it’s ‘Netflix and Chill’ all the way. Following that you can start adding in some active rest but don’t go whole hog until you’re fully recovered, and then some. 

SLEEP – I’ve spoken before about the importance of sleep for recovery here. Getting the right amount of sleep will help you to recover both physically and mentally. Just remember, you’ll want to build a good sleep pattern before your competition to make it even more effective afterwards.

HYDRATE – Keeping well hydrated before, during and post wod will help your muscles to recover, aid digestion when refuelling your body and reduce fatigue. You may find it difficult to drink a lot of water during the day, especially if Double Unders feature (ladies, you know what I’m saying) but just ensure you constantly take small sips throughout the day & make time for your pre-wod wee and you’ll be fine.

EAT – Yes, you do deserve that treat meal after but don’t let it turn into a full on treat weekend or even worse a treat week! Eating the right foods will certainly help you to recover faster, the same as eating the wrong foods will hinder recovery (so try not to go get wasted and have a dirty kebab on your way home). Instead, enjoy a treat meal, have a beer or a wine and make sure you are getting plenty of protein and veg (if you live in Manchester then head down to Kettlebell Kitchen post comp and cheat clean like I did)

MASSAGE – A good sports massage following your comp is a great way to aid recovery. It will help to flush out toxins, allow the body to relax, reduce the risk of DOMS, and lets face it, it’s a nice little treat right?!

EPSOM – You can pick Epsom Salts up pretty cheaply in your local chemist (drug store) or supermarket. Magnesium Sulphites are known to help muscle relaxation, sports injuries and recovery in the bath. Just add two cups to a bath of warm water and soak for 15-20 minutes. This can be repeated a couple of days a week as needed. 

DELOAD – And finally, when you do get back to the gym you might want to consider a deload week. You can either reduce the weight in your lifts, stick with the same weight but lower the rep scheme or if you’re doing a lot of wods/cardio then maybe think about hitting the intermediate scaling instead of advanced. You’re much more likely to come back with a bang the following week.

I’d love to hear about your post comp or post workout recovery routines – just leave a message in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter or IG.

Happy wodding!

Buckwheat and chia pancakes

The best things about weekends? Lie ins, extended gym sessions, baking, prosecco, friends, long dog walks and pancakes. And my weekend included them all.

Most of my weekends lately have been jam packed. With weddings, work and lots of adulting, so it was lovely to get a free weekend to do with as we pleased. We started off the weekend by making dinner for our friends and having one or two (or three, or four) glasses of fizz on Friday. Then on Saturday we went for a long dog walk in the park where Hudson had his first proper swim… he looked so pleased with himself and I was beaming from ear to ear. Just look at my little swamp boy go…
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We then had a nice chilled afternoon before visiting our friends for the evening.

On Sunday, I woke up, made my favourite pancakes and headed to the gym for a morning of snatches with the lifting crew. It was so nice to have a long session (apart from dropping 40kg on my head) without feeling rushed. I then came home, did a mini facial, food prepped and chilled with the fam. Bliss.

Now, obviously you didn’t come over to the blog to hear all about my weekend… you came for the pancakes.

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Am I right?

I adapted this recipe from a super standard pancake recipe I found online and all you have to remember is 1-1-1 plus whatever other bits and bobs you fancy. So what do you need to do?

Buckwheat and Chia Pancakes
A super simple pancake recipe for my gluten intolerant, dairy free or paleo peeps. Perfect for a lazy Sunday morning with coffee... lots of coffee.
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Ingredients
  1. Serves 1-2
  2. 1 cup Buckwheat
  3. 1 cup coconut milk (or any other milk)
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 tbsp chia seeds
  6. 1 tsp vanilla essence
  7. Coconut oil to cook
  8. Maple syrup or honey
  9. Mixed berries
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk
  2. Heat some coconut oil in a frying pan on a medium heat
  3. Add a spoonful of pancake mixture and cook until the top starts to bubble
  4. Flip and cook for another minute or two
  5. Continue with the rest of the mixture
  6. Stack up on a plate, top with maple syrup or honey and your favourite fruit
My Big Fit Diary http://www.mybigfitdiary.com/

What did you do this weekend? Was it chilled like mine or a mad one? Let me know in the comments below.

I’d also love to hear if you make these pancakes. You can tag me in any photo’s on Instagram or Twitter, or why not send me a snapchat at mybigfitdiary