Posts Tagged With: charity

Day 20: Tongue to John O Groats

Miles travelled: 66

Metres climbed: 1175

So, contrary to Alice’s promise, it was NOT “all down hill to John O Groats”! The day started with some of the toughest climbs we’ve had since Dartmoor!! image

But the views were stunning (pictures to follow…)

By the time we reached Melvich we were all lagging slightly, but after a great soup and toffee apple muffin (highly recommended!) at the Halladale Inn, we were revived and happily the road did begin to flatten out a little :).

We went on through Thurso and the beautiful Dunnet bay… 

 We then had a quick coffee in Castletown, which the lovely Laura at the Castletown hotel refused to let us pay for 🙂

And it was just another 16 miles into quite a strong headwind before we finally made it to John O Groats!


We have all been so touched and grateful for all the support and kindness we’ve received from friends and strangers alike… It’s still hard to believe that we’ve actually made it! Maybe it will feel more real after our “little swim” as Alice calls it… 

Categories: Lejog | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

We Have Bikes! Thank You Cycles UK

All the guys at Cycles UK Bow Lane deserve a medal – they couldn’t have been more helpful this morning! And we are so grateful for their generosity.

As it turned out I needed to be at home in the evening to be with Daddy so we made a last minute decision to get up at 5:30am today to try and collect the bikes first thing… it turned out excellently. Despite the fact that we had made an appointment to get all the bikes and gear fitted at 4:30pm today – they weren’t at all fazed when we turned up at 9am.

We were in the shop for nearly THREE HOURS and Dave and Dane were so helpful and patient with us.  They made sure the bikes fit us perfectly – we actually cycled them indoors with the rear wheels raised so that they didn’t move, which surely is something every shop should do – so they can really see if you are able to move properly.

They fitted water bottle holders, bells, padlocks, armadillo tyresmulti tools and saddle bags all without any fuss and constant enthusiasm! We also got some seriously padded shorts (apparently an essential for long distances!) and very high viz jackets. The service was absolutely 5 star!  🙂

Alice even got a personal lesson in wheel removal…

To cap it all – we actually managed to leave some of our gear behind (we were a bit flustered by the time we left as we were in quite a rush to get back to Daddy, but by the time we’d got home Dave had already emailed us to let us know what we’d left and that he was posting it to our home address – amazing!!

Thank you so much Danny, Dave and Dane – We couldn’t be more grateful!

Thank you

I actually managed to do a short test ride this afternoon back in Oxford (my first real session on a road bike!) and couldn’t be happier with the bike and can’t wait to start cycling to work. If you’re thinking of buying a bike we can’t recommend these guys enough!!

Now we just need start working on the swimming… Aaaahhh!

Ps. I showed Daddy the pictures and I think even in his current condition he got vicarious enjoyment from seeing us get our new toys!

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Raspberry Surprise Lemon Cupcakes

 Last Friday was my last day working in the London office for the next six months. I am now working for the same company in Oxford until September, which is great as it means I can spend more time at home and with my family. 🙂

I will miss London though and my last day seemed like a good excuse to take in some cupcakes (the normal rather than healthy variety!), but as I was making these before work I needed something quick. I decided to experiment a bit by putting a raspberry filled with jam in each cupcake – I have to say it worked pretty well –  Kind of a (slightly) healthier light and fluffy cupcake take on a doughnut…

They went so quickly I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of one cut in half with the raspberry oozing out… I guess I’ll just have to make another batch!


Here is the recipe in case you are interested! It is super easy… These were very lemony, but then I love lemon. If you don’t like your lemon flavour too strong maybe only use 1-2 lemons.  (This recipe makes about 12 cupcakes)



3/4 cup sugar

Zest and juice of 3 lemons

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

110g unsalted butter, softened

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

About 14 raspberries

3 tablespoons Raspberry Jam



  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a muffin tray with cupcake cases (I actually made 12)
  2. In a large bowl, rub together lemon zest and sugar until you can smell the lemony aroma.
  3. Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  4. Add the melted butter to the bowl with the sugar and zest and whisk for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy. Add the egg and whisk until well combined and aerated. Stir in the milk and then the dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice.
  6. Fill each mini cupcake case cup 3/4 full with batter. Place one raspberry, filled with a teaspoon of raspberry jam, open side down, in the middle of each cup.
  7. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted into a cupcake comes out clean – probably about 15 minutes. Then leave to cool.
  8. ENJOY 🙂


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Group Cycle, Spinning and RPM

The training begins…

Boris Bikes

Last week it suddenly hit me that not only is our crazy challenge not ‘next year’ anymore, in fact it’s actually only just over six months or, more precisely, 207 days to go!

So that’s 207 days to get fit… and more importantly learn how to ride a bike! About 10 days ago Daniel Gould from Cycling Active kindly came to photograph us cycling to work on the Barclays Bikes, or at least trying to cycle in my case! Let’s just say I realised that definitely need to practice my traffic avoidance and general steering technique. As fun as crawling around London on these clunky bikes and stopping every time a car passes may be – I don’t feel like it is getting me much fitter! So I’ve resorted to an alternative solution: indoor cycling. In the last few weeks I’ve tried every cycling class at the gym. I never knew there were so many!

What is the difference between RPM, Spinning and Group Cycle anyway?

I’ve done all three in the last week and while they all cover the interval, hill climb (seated and standing) and sprinting elements of normal cycling, there seem to be some obvious differences even to a novice like me!

RPM follows a set structure, which is pre-choreographed with no flexibility for the instructor to make changes or adapt the activity to the mood of the participants. You are supposed to hit your max three times with recovery periods in between, this is meant to make you burn more calories and continue burning even after you have finished exercising – appealing if weight loss is your goal! Group Cycle is a free-style class, the instructor can choose any music and set the structure of the class. Depending on the instructor this class may burn the least calories. Spinning is also free-style, but with more emphasis on high intensity training, which is good for endurance and strength and probably burns the most calories out of the three.

I suppose RPM is good if you like predictability and want to know that you are getting the exact same workout every class. owever, I can’t imagine it is the best way to train your body – surely every real cycle ride will have it’s differences and you will go faster and slower in different areas, even the weather will make a difference.  I also suspect that your body must get used to the predictable rhythm of the class and so you stop progressing beyond a certain point and your fitness plateaus, unless alternative training sessions are added.

Both Spinning and Group Cycle are much more varied and the instructor can tailor the class to their mood or the performance of the participants as they go along. The music also changes and you never know what you are going to get when you walk into the class. This could be a good or bad thing. It means that the instructor in these sessions is far more important – they can really make the class great or… not so great! Their energy and choices really make an impact on the workout you get, so you may be disappointed if their choice of music or structure is not what you expected.

Personally I find RPM quite boring and I don’t really like knowing in advance exactly how long I am going to have to punish my poor thigh muscles. I also think I find it easier to push myself harder when there is more interaction and a feeling of spontaneity and fun, which I get most in the spinning classes I’ve attended so far!

The real question is how helpful are any of these classes in preparing one for cycling outside? I guess I’ll find out soon… Realistically I know there are a lot of challenges that come with real cycling that you can never encounter in the gym… the wonderful, but unpredictable English weather, uneven road surfaces and of course traffic (not to mention punctured wheels or broken chains!). For the moment, I’m happy that I feel fitter. Even after just a few classes I can tell that my body is responding to this new form of exercise and it feels good. The endorphin rush after spinning is particularly great – addictive almost! 🙂

Categories: training, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Flying Experiment Success

We were completely overwhelmed by all the support we received, which enabled us to raise well over our target amount for our skydives – £14500 (so far!)

We did wonder if we should have waited until 2014, as 2013 seems to have lived up to its superstitious connotations! But it was an unbelievably gorgeous day – we could actually see as far as Rutland Water (40 miles!)

Mummy was too scared to come and watch, but Daddy seemed to enjoy himself (he even had to be reminded that he wasn’t allowed to board the plane without a parachute!) and it was so lovely of Jackie Beaumont (head of OOSO) to come and support us and Jacob Davis. We even learnt that Jackie herself is a very proficient skydiver and a pilot to boot! Very inspiring!!!

And just to prove we weren’t imagining it here are a few photos…

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Parachute Jump for OOSO

In short we are jumping out of a plane to raise money for a local charity – The Oxford Oesophageal and Stomach Cancer Organisation (bit of a mouthful…..ohhh the irony!)

Read on to find out why….

As most of you know, our Dad underwent a brutal, but life-saving esophagectomy in April of this year. The impact of this operation is life-changing for every patient. We were so fortunate to meet Jackie Beaumont, the founder of OOSO, in the days after the operation.

Having been through a similar surgery herself over 5 years ago she provides fantastic inspiration and moral support to the patients and their families at this crucial time. Her positivity and determination were exactly what we needed and we know how much of a difference her presence makes. She was available 24/7 to answer questions and provide the kind of reassurance that can only come from someone who has experienced first-hand what you are going through. It really is hard to put into words how much hope she has given us!

We wanted to show our appreciation for all that she does and help raise funds for her fantastic charitable works!

And why a skydive?

At one of the events arranged by the charity we were inspired by Jacob Davis who lost both his grandfathers to this brutal disease. He kindly donated cakes for her auction, but felt he wanted to do more and decided to jump out of a plane to raise awareness and funds! Our Dad was moved to tears by this generous gesture and we are so happy he has allowed us to join him!

We are aiming to complete our ‘BikeSplashBike’ challenge later in 2014 to raise money for Cancer Research that will go towards studies finding a prevention and cure for this horrible disease. But we hope in doing this we can help support a true local hero, who is supporting those already living with the condition today – and a bit of adventure training never goes amiss!

To sponsor us visit our fundraising page by following this link:

What ever you can give will be amazing – in the words of a hugely successful superstore – “every little helps”!

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