Cologne // Germany Part 2

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So this is a bit of a belated blog post. You can read about part one of my Germany trip here.

My friends and I took a very adhoc trip to Germany to attend our friend’s 30th birthday. While we were there we decided to head to Cologne to do a bit of touristy sightseeing. We arrived in the afternoon after the party – there were a few hangovers amongst us! We used Air B&B for accommodation and found an absolute gem of a house in a neighbourhood not too far from the centre. For those unaware of Air B&B, it’s a website where property owners can list their house or apartment to rent short term; anywhere from 1 night to 2 weeks. Basically local residents can let out their home for you to use when they aren’t staying there. I’ve used it once in Manchester and again for when we were in Cologne. I’ve always found a great property at a great price so definitely recommend it!

As we were all a little tired and weary, we stayed in the local neighbourhood on the first evening and found a great bar with a fantastic outdoor area, serving tasty food and great beers!

After a good nights sleep we headed into the city centre by catching the metro. I’d done a little research on the city before we arrived and read that the Cathedral is one of the biggest attractions, so we headed straight there!

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Being one of the tallest buildings in Cologne, the Cathedral is not hard to find. Located in the old town near to the river, the Cathedral is one of the few historical buildings left in the city; much of it was flattened as a result of the war. We had some fun posing outside of the cathedral with all the other tourists, then headed into the Cathedral for more touristy sight-seeing. The main reason we headed to the Cathedral is because you can climb right to the top of it and gain one of the best views of the entire city. This makes it one of Germany’s most visited landmarks. We climbed the 350 (I think) steps to the top of the 515ft tower to gain a fantastic view. Unfortunately I’ve managed to loose the photos I took from the top of the tower – but it was worth the many steps and achy hamstrings the next day!

After the cathedral we took a stroll through the old town towards the river and enjoyed the first of many German beers of the day! While down there we came across a hire bike stand and decided it was probably one of the best ways to discover the city. Everyone soon jumped on their bike, however I struggled somewhat – short girl problems. I think Matt started to doubt I even knew how to ride a bike I was that much of a mess! We went back to the stand and found a smaller bike that I could actually reach the floor on and headed off.

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We cycled along the riverside and came across a park where we enjoyed some lunch outside before the rain arrived. We then cycled back to the bike hire stand as quick as our legs could take us! Our six soggy bodies ventured back into town to find a bar to enjoy the football (yes, that’s how belated this blog post is – the World Cup was still on!) In the hours leading up to the match, the city of Cologne really came to life. More and more people started to pour into the streets wearing football shirts, covered in facepaint, carrying flags and beer. We found a bar, donned some garlands and covered ourselves in facepaint – when in Rome etc.

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Thankfully Germany won and the atmosphere of the city really shone. You would of thought that they’d won the World Cup not just their first game! People were in the street, on the roads, climbing on monuments, chanting, cheering and dancing. My friends were quick to join in and be honorary Germans for the night. While dancing away we made a few friends who were happy to show us the sights and sounds of the city during the evening. We followed alongside them towards the student area of the city where we trawled the many bars. After too many Germans beers, way too many shots and lots of dancing Matt and I headed back to our accommodation. However we soon realised we made a huge error of not coming out without our address written down, so we had no idea where we were or where in the city our accommodation was. This resulted in us wandering around in circles for an hour before finding a metro station where we managed to remember which stop we had used in the morning. Luckily I was with my boyfriend, however it’s not the best situation to be in after lots of alcohol, so learn from my mistake and when travelling – always write down where you are staying!

Thankfully the rest of my friends had remembered the name of the bar we had been in the night before so jumped in a taxi which took them across town to the neighbourhood, then found their way back from there!

After a couple of hours sleep we awoke first thing in the morning to tidy the house and make our way back to the airport. Although our visit to Germany was brief, we had a fantastic time, made memories that will last a lifetime and had a great time catching up with each other. Now to plan our next adventure!

Have you ever visited Germany or Cologne? Which areas would you recommend to others to visit?

Beet It Sport Shots & Bars

 Beet it Sport Pro Elite Shot Pro elite bar reviewOne of the joys of my blog is that I am exposed to so many new and exciting products, especially health and fitness related products. I’m always amazed at what science boffins can come up with in an attempt to keep us as healthy as possible and to improve our fitness performance. Now a lot of the things out there claim to be miracle potions and pills, so it can take time to sort through the rubbish to find a good product, but my blog always aims to share with you good quality products that you (hopefully) enjoy!

Today it’s time for BEET IT Sport to shine. The BEET IT brand is rapidly establishing itself in the sporting world thanks to its no nonsense products. Their bars and shots are a favourite of many international sportsmen and women thanks to them being a completely natural energy source.  Beet it Sport Pro Elite Shot Pro elite bar review 2

The BEET IT Sport Pro-Elite Shot is designed to provide a natural boost to sporting performance in one quick hit. The instructions state that you should enjoy one shot 1-12 hours before exercise – so whether you’re forward planning your workouts or not, this is a simple way to top up your energy beforehand. And with only 97 calories in a shot it’s not going to damage the hard work you put in on your nutrition. The shot is made from 100% natural ingredients and consists of beetroot juice cut with lemon juice.  Now the ingredients may not sound the tastiest to you – they didn’t for me! However as much as I don’t really like beetroot the shot is very palatable, not bitter in the slightest and is easy to drink, plus the little tiny bottle means you can slip these shots easily in your gym bag!

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Now the bars were the selling point for me – performance enhancing flapjack – yes please! The BEET IT Pro-Elite Bars are a blend of beetroot and oats and are designed to give the same benefits of the BEET IT Pro-Elite Shot, so if you prefer something more substantial before working out the Pro-Elite Bar is for you. This bright purple flapjacks has a great moist texture and is rich in beetroot flavours – as you would have guessed! So for none beetroot lovers like myself, this flapjacks flavour is a little too strong, however my partner was a big fan!

Now you’re probably wondering what the science behind the shots and bars is – I mean it’s just beetroot after all! So here’s the techy bit-

Research is being conducted across 100s of universities using BEET IT Sport Shots to investigate the benefit of natural dietary nitrate supplementation. (There’s 400mg of nitrate in each BEET IT product). Their work so far shows that nitrate interacts with enzymes in salvia to boost Nitrate Oxide levels in the blood. Nitrate Oxide is a vasodilator that increases the flow of blood and oxygen to muscles, thereby boosting strength and endurance – similar in impact (but legitimate) to blood doping!

So there you have it! An affordable performance boosting product that is 100% natural! Now I doubt that many of you reading my blog are athletes, so this product may not find a place in your day to day life, however I think it’s the perfect product to enjoy before a long run or a sporting event – help give you that extra boost! You can find BEET IT shots in Holland and Barret, Sainsbury and Amazon. The bars are currently only available at Amazon.

Have you ever heard or seen of BEET IT Sport bars or shots? Are you a fan of natural performance boosting products?

Workout Wednesday// Three

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They say that big changes come from small steps -So why not start on your first steps. I’m all about small changes daily. I always try to find new habits to create that help me become a healthier person. One of my most recent steps is my morning workout regime straight out of bed.

Each morning I wake up then drop to the floor and hold a plank for as long as I can, followed by a series of leg exercises and 20 pushups. I then do 100 squats while brushing my teeth. Since I started my mini wakeup regime I have already improved my performance and feel tighter in the areas I’m working on.

So this Workout Wednesday I’m asking you to create your own mini wakeup regime. It doesn’t have to be many moves, maybe start with 20 reps of one move for a week and see how you feel.

As they say – “There is no such thing as a bad workout – every workout counts”

Perhaps you could focus on an area you don’t feel very confident about and pick a move you know will help tone it. If you’re all out of ideas, here’s a little suggestion below.

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Once you commit to carrying out your mini wakeup regime each morning, you will notice changes within two weeks – whether it’s some toning or a build up of strength. Just make sure you don’t make your regime complicated, keep it simple and keep it short – you don’t want to overwork yourself as soon as you wakeup!

Do you have you’re own mini wakeup regime? Perhaps you prefer some gentle stretching or yoga? Let me know which moves you aim to do each morning!

Images – source

Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

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Healthy treats are one of my favourite things to search for and create. I have a huge sweet tooth, so any recipe that satisfies it without expanding my waistline is a winner for me!

I stumbled across these healthy strawberry cheesecake bites on Pinterest and knew they were going to be on my “To Make” list. I didn’t used to be the biggest fan of Strawberries but since introducing them as a topping for my two ingredient pancakes they’ve become a favourite fruit of mine. Plus my boyfriend is a huge fan of cheesecake so I thought it would be a good recipes for him too.

There are many different variations of these healthy strawberry cheesecake bites, and the measurements I found were all different, so I kind of fumbled along and mixed a few recipes together. My finished product wasn’t the greatest as I got the cheesecake mixture incorrect and the consistency wasn’t thick enough, but after popping them into the freezer for a little while –it thickened it up. So I would definitely recommend taking the cheesecake mixture slowly and adding the ingredients as you see fit, as really it needs to be a thick mixture that doesn’t drip everywhere once you bite into the strawberry!

For my version of healthy strawberry cheesecake bites I used; strawberries, low-fat cream cheese, Greek yoghurt, honey, digestive biscuits and chocolate.

I first chill the strawberries before hollowing out the inside – ensure you don’t take out to much of the middle so that the strawberries don’t loose their shape. After hollowing out the strawberries cut straight across the bottom of them so they can stand upright on a plate. Now melt your choice of chocolate and dip the bottoms of the strawberries into the mixture.

Next I mix the Greek yoghurt, cream cheese and honey together to create the cheesecake filling. I don’t have measurements, but take it slowly and add a little Greek yoghurt at a time to ensure you don’t water down the creamy filling too much. Add just a squeeze of honey to sweeten up the cheesecake mixture. Either spoon or pipe your creamy filling into the centre of the strawberries.

Finish by bashing up digestive biscuits and sprinkling them on top. Place them in the fridge until you are ready to serve them, then enjoy!

What is your favourite healthy sweet treat? Have you got any inspiration to share with others?