Flash Back Friday : Venice with Diadora

I went on a trip to Venice with Italian sportswear brand Diadora. Diadora have
a rich history of providing footwear for true sporting icons, Marradonna, Bjorn Borg,
Messi, so it was really just a matter of time before they found their way to me.
After landing and arriving at the city I was very excited to get to the Diadora museum
and factory.

Diadora Factory Venice

I don’t normally get in a tiz about museums, but I’m in jeans, it’s 35
degrees and I was told that baby had AC. Once inside I got to learn about the true
craftsmanship that goes into making their footwear- only ten machines are used at a
time. Disappointingly none of the machines can actually tie shoelaces let alone a
double knot. You’re not allowed to enter wearing a competitor’s footwear or even
take pictures! So naturally I….

Diadora factory

Once we'd learnt all things Diadora, we went for a little sippy-sippy at Sandi Villa.
We had a walking tour of the vineyard before tasting the goods ourselves. Which
couldn’t have come soon enough. When it comes to wine, window shopping is just a
few steps from torture. Nice house...

Sandi Villa, Venice

...nice wine

aeperol spritz

and nice peach!

Italian peach

 
A wine tour will and a bottle of the good stuff ranges from 8-
40Euros. Stock up! 


We finished the evening by heading to dinner on the terrace of Sagredo hotel.
Beautiful views overlooking Venice, a lovely glass or three of prosecco and some
gorgeous Italian cuisine- mamma mia! The 15th century hotel oozed with opulence
and grandeur and was decorated with Modern art outside. The northener in me felt
well out of place, the only old buildings in Blackburn are the old Woolworths and
C&A. The hands are there to show a supporting hand to Venice. Sad but true, it’s
‘sinking’.

Sagredo Hotel, Venice

Next day I woke up late. I put the blame at the door of the hotel black-out curtains
and my dead phone, though not sure my fellow travellers did. Still, we had
enough time to go on a walking tour around Venice. We were given little walkie-
talkies so we could hear our tour guide and just in case we got lost, which was a
touch since my phone was back down to 5%.

Diadora OOTD


I learnt that Venice is actually made up of loads of different islands. Each time you
cross a bridge, you're on a new island, though no passport control thankfully. We also
found the most beautiful bookshop in the world. Filled to the brim with paper and
words. There was even a staircase made out of books that took you to a fab view at
the top. That’s if you survive the climb, I don’t seem to recall paper being a popular
building material. I also saw the building that Amal and George Clooney were married in! Well, it mattered to me.

venice by boat

 St Mark's Square is not for the faint hearted. If you hate crowds this is hell on earth
but I'm into it. St Marks Bacilka is stunning and although there's a ban on feeding
pigeons I came across another fellow sign-defier.

pigeon feeding

Museums in Venice are ALL closed on a Tuesday and guess what day I went to see
the Damien Hirst exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi? Plan B ensued, a lovely art fair that’s on
every two years.
I'm not usually into galleries as they often require etiquette such as speaking quietly, a
talent I was not blessed with at birth. Fortunately loud blabbing and guffawing was
permitted at this art fair. There's even art that you can touch- check it out! 

Venice Art Show 2017

Finally we got a boat taxi. If you really want to be fancy get one of these hunks to
paddle you around for an hour on their gondola. I now know exactly why they call it
the city of love. 

venice marriage proposal

Learning all about the beauty and craftsmanship of Diadora products - tick
Views of Venice from the top of shopping centre -tick
Eating my entire body weight in pasta and cheese -tick
Sipping on Prosecco & Aperol spritz like its water -tick
Having a long ride on this man’s big gondola?! - Dammit, maybe next time.

venice gondala

 

XOXO

This blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Diadora

BOOKSHOP VENICE

Heart Rate Hotel | Fitbit Charge 2

The past few weeks I’ve been sharing my life with the Fitbit Charge 2.  Normally my heart is kept well away from strangers as it’s prone to breaking and emptying itself after a bottle of Pinot to whoever will listen.  But this little Fitbit fella looked pretty and seemed harmless so I brought him along for the ride as I prepared myself for the Shoreditch 10km run on the 8th of October.

fit bit charge 2

My new workout partner’s specialty is he can measure your heart rate any time of day, and since he is always dutifully by my side, use this information to calculate all kinds of nifty diagnoses on how I should be working out. My Fitbit, or Fabricio as I call him, can tell me my resting heart rate over breakfast so I know how my general fitness is doing.  On my morning run to the office he gently points out if I am going too near my maximum heart rate, no one wants to be too flushed when doing the morning hello’s. 

fit bit

The genius of my new companion is working within specific heart rate Zones.  A heart rate Zone is a particular range your heart rate can hit whilst performing a certain type of activity.  Of course all hearts are different, some have had far fewer deep wounds than my patched-up old thing, so the ranges are calculated using your age.  Your maximum heart rate = 220 – A, where A is your age.  So my maximum heart rate was… Ha, nice try.

activity tracker

Fabricio split my activity up into 3 heart rate zones:

1. PEAK

85-100% of your maximum heart rate.  This is when I’m really going some.  Typically a spin class when I’ve got two guys either side of me- there’s only going to be one winner in that situation and it’s usually me ;) 

2. CARDIO

70-84% of your maximum heart rate.  I’m within this range when I’m jogging to work.  The
perfect pace to get me to the office without a sweat, plus my bloodstream is usually still processing an extra-tall Latte.

3. FAT BURN

50-69% of your maximum heart rate.  This can be anything from my hot yoga class to a
particularly tense episode of First Dates.

fitbit charge 2

I’ve been working within these zones for the past two weeks and it’s given me so much confidence that I’m on track for the big race.  It almost becomes an addiction, I find myself checking in with Fabricio at any spare moment, he’s always there for whatever my heart desires.  So do yourself a favour, get yourself a Fitbit and check in to the heart rate hotel.

run

 XOXO

This blog post is brought to you in collaboration with Fit Bit

SIMPLE GYM SKINCARE ROUTINE

Whether you’re a high-intensity city worker who likes to pound pedals during a 6am spin class or a super chilled yoga-bunny who ends the day with some Vinyasa Flow, we all share one workout in common- lugging around a heavy gym bag! 

Since you can’t really discard your trainers and sports bra other areas need to be streamlined to alleviate some strain.  Having the right beauty products means when you’re exiting your kickboxing class you look like someone who’s about to walk on stage, not someone who’s been avoiding flying kicks. I'm using Simple Limited Edition range which as it says on the tin excels as simplicity.  The new Limited Edition edition range includes a three-step skincare routine that is perfect for pre and post workout.  The packaging looks just how I want my skin to look, new, clean and fresh.

simple cleanse wipes

1. PRE-WORKOUT CLEANSE

I particularly hate mascara & eyeliner running into my eyes during a sweaty workout so use the Simple Limited Edition Fitness Cleansing Wipes pre-workout to remove makeup.  These wipes cleanse skin quickly and thoroughly with just a few sweeps of the wipe, meaning there’s no need to tug at your skin. This ensures clear skin as your makeup is not clogging up your pores when working out. 

simple wipes.JPG

2. POST WORKOUT WASH

After I've been worked out I have a shower (obvs) and use the Simple Limited Edition Fitness Moisturising Cleansing Wash on my face to cleanse and rehydrate my skin not to mention removing every remnant of sweat from my skin enabling me to feel confident that I'm leaving odour free.

Simple 3 step cleanse

3.  POST WORKOUT GLOW

I use the Simple Limited Edition Hydrating Light Moisturiser to lock in moisture and fully rehydrate my skin. The moisturiser even contains Pro-Vitamin B5 and is perfect for even sensitive skin.

Gym Skincare Routine

So there you have it. Make space in your gym bag immediately! 

This blog post is brought to you in collaboration with Simple Skincare. You can shop the range by clicking  here.

Get To Know: The Launch

People say it’s not what you know but who you know, but I think it’s a healthy measure of both! I am launching a women’s events and networking series called Get To Know with two female powerhouses Adrienne and Hayley and I’d love you to be part of the launch event at The Hoxton Hotel.

Hoxton Holborn London

Our inboxes are full of questions and queries from passionate motivated women all in need of the necessary info for success that you can't find on Google.  Get To Know aims to be the go-to platform where aspirational women can come together and learn from the experts as well as one another.

LEARN

We are going to provide direct access to women who have made it to the top within the industries of their choice so each event will have guest speakers discussing essential topics such as branding, self confidence, money management, fitness and health, everything you need  to know will be covered.

At our launch event a panel of guests will be giving talks and answering questions from the Get To Know community. Once the talking is done and all your questions are answered it will be P.A.R.T.Y time with some baddass female DJs and every attendee will go home with a Get To Know partybag. 

Hayley Adrienne London AJ Odudu

Get To Know: The Launch is on Thursday 21st September at The Hoxton Shoreditch at 18:30.  If you have even the smallest flame of burning desire to fulfill all you can be then come and join us. We would love to Get To Know you. Click here for tickets.

XOXO

IMG_7370.JPG

WHEN: Thursday 21st September, 18:30

WHERE: The Hoxton Shorditch Hotel, 81 Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3HU

HOW: Click here

Spirit Of Accessorize Activewear

Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool was the criteria for my recent trip to Ibiza and that's exactly what I got. From floating on inflatables in the hills of Jesus, to paddle boarding in Cala Vedella, to dancing my socks off in Amnesia, to eventually finding some zen on the beach, Ibiza was just the break I needed and thankfully, unlike some trips in the past, I didn't come back broken!

AJ Odudu Accessorize

When away, I practised some yoga on Cala Bassa beach.  The mornings there are beautiful, peaceful and a great place to stretch before a long day of Ibiza action.

Stretching is a good way to relax and improve your flexibility and I love a standing lung (aka warrior II in yoga terms). It stretches your back, abs, hip flexors, bum, legs and helps with balance too. Hold the position for 90 seconds and even your arms will be toned up in no time. 

Yoga Warrior Pose

I was stretching out in the new Spirit of Accessorize activewear range. Comfortable, practical and in this case, very floral! This collection is all about being the best you can be whether heading to yoga class or exploring the great outdoors. There’s even a handy inner key pocket on the elastic waist of the leggings for the times when you're not on a beach but in the gym. 

zip detail in accessorize

When it comes to workout gear, it’s important to buy clothes that don’t restrict your movement or rub, so not only are these tights playful and stylish, they’re also stretchy and lightweight, clinging comfortably to your figure and working with you as you bend into the trickiest of positions, including the tree pose pictured below.

Yoga Tree Pose

Tree Pose stretches the thighs, groins, torso, and shoulders. It builds strength in the ankles and calves, tones the abdominal muscles and even helps your balance. I mean, you try standing on a rock on one leg. It's harder than it looks. Lose your focus and you'll end up in the sea!

Yoga in Ibiza

I love this floral matching combo but for a more understated look, there’s sporty-chic marl designs in leggings, tops, hoodies, sweaters and crop tops too. You can even complete your look with their jewellery, water bottles and tote bags that pack a style punch.

Hand stand wearing accessorize

No doubt you’ll be excited to get to class and show off these looks soon, so I'll see you there!

XOXO

This blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Spirit of Accessorize. You can shop the full range here.

WIN! Speedo H2O Active Swimwear Range

Swimming. It’s not really my thing. I nearly drowned when I was younger and have been scared of the deep end ever since. In fact even the shallow end makes my knees knock. So when Speedo asked me to travel to Majorca and try their new H2OActive range it wasn’t a decision I wanted to dive into.  But after some deliberation I decided to take the plunge and confront my fears as every expert starts as a beginner and you have to start somewhere!  That, and the fact it was in sunny Majorca.  If it had been a coach trip to Margate Lido I don’t think I’d be starting at all.

Speedo H2O Active

On shoot I learnt lots about the benefits of working out in the water and how adding it could really compliment my current routine. It works muscles I never even knew I had! Moving some of my favourite HIIT moves into the water meant I burned just as many calories (possibly more because of the resistance) as on land but with the added bonus of reducing the risk of injury and not looking like a sweaty mess.

Speedo Photoshoot

Since then I have been learning week by week to swim and I’m making great progress but the progress wouldn’t have been as quick if it wasn’t with the help of a few friends.  I’m having 1-to-1 lessons with Swim For Tri, attending group swim clubs (Swim Dem Crew is my fave) and partaking in Aquaphysical Float Fit Class for strengthening exercises on top of the water.

Aquaphysical Float Class

Practising in a group is great as I’m still a little nervous to go swimming alone.  I’d feel like I’d want to make sure the life guard was looking at me the whole time- nudge nudge.  It’s also fun to hang out with new faces week in and week out to discover that I’m not the only adult who swims like a seal trying to breakdance .

Speedo Fit With Friends

I have been practising my strokes wearing the new Speedo H2O Active range and it’s great for a number of reasons

1. It's Vibrant & VERSATILE 

Style and function belong together and so with the multiple back strap details, H2O Active range is supportive enough for you to workout both in and out of water. It’s bright, bold, mix and match range can be paired to match your mood and your workout. 

Speedo H2O Active Bra
AJ Odudu Speedo

2. It’s eco friendly

Thanks to the partnership between Speedo and Aquafil, it is now possible for the fabric to include 78% ECONYL yarn, a nylon fibre made from regenerated plastics including abandoned fishing nets that might otherwise harm animals in the ocean.

Eco Friendly H2O Active range

Figures show that 20% of global waste comes from the textile and clothing industry, and with Speedo’s help there has been a 21% increase in recycled, non-hazardous waste. The fabric is durable, lasting twice as long as standard swimwear, is  resistant to chlorine, suncream, oils and holds it's shape well too, making it perfect for multi fitness needs. 

Side Plank

3. You Can BE BODY CONFIDENT

With cropped leggings, high necklines and a range that you can layer, H2O Active is a range fit for any shape or size. It's even good for nervous swimmers like me.

Aquaphysical Floatfit Class
Speedo Mix & Match Range

 

WIN!

Partnering with Speedo has really sparked a new and enjoyable thirst for learning and so I want to give you the opportunity to win a Speedo fit kit of your choice from the brand new H2o Active range (pictured below), to hopefully encourage you to workout by and in the pool too.

Speedo H20 Active SS2 Range

All you have to do is comment below for your chance to win. Give me a comment on Instagram too and let's connect. Winner will be announced on Monday 22nd May. Good luck!

Speedo H2O S2 Collection

XOXO

What I'm Wearing: Speedo Swimsuit, leggings, bikini and long-sleeve top

This blog post is brought to you in collaboration with Speedo

What No One Tells You About Running The London Marathon

Yesterday saw thousands of runners take over London for the day, conquering a huge challenge and raising millions of pounds for charity in the process. I was one of those lucky runners and 24 hours later I'm still in awe of what a spectacular and unique occasion it was.

London Marathon AJ Odudu 2017

I really am bursting with pride. If you watched or are feeling inspired, great! But before you sign up to a marathon, here are just a few things that no one tells you about running your first marathon.

1)  The emotional onslaught you face on race day and the week prior. 

A combination of nerves, anxiety, impatience, excitement and cold hard fear.  If only the armada of butterflies in my stomach were able to propel me across the line.  Instead by mile 20 it felt like they had all turned back to caterpillars.  Which was ironic because it was about that point when a caterpillar overtook me.

London Marathon 2017 Costumes

2)   Boredom

Everyone talks of “hitting that wall” but no warned that I may hit boredom.  Four and a half hours is a long time to be doing one thing, and at times you find yourself being hypnotised by a swinging ponytail. Luckily the boredom passes quickly. Unluckily it's soon followed by pain.

3)  Nothing goes according to plan

The race gels you have been practising with suddenly make you feel sick. Your activity tracker doesn't work and you thought you'd be able to hear your parents scream your name but didn't. These unexpected moments stress you out!

London Marathon Family and Friend support

4)  You run more miles than you signed up for

Weaving in and out is not the one! A slalom of empty water bottles, discarded gel packets and the odd rhinoceros. I think I notched up a half marathon with just my zig-zagging.

5)   The feeling of astonishment when...

...being overtaken by people and objects that should never assume that role.  Mr. Blobby, a Womble and at one point a guy with an actual washing machine on his back.  Apparently Currys closes early on Sundays. I was even shamed back into running by a wonderful OAP called Jeremy. What a legend!

Virgin Money London Marathon 2017

Despite all of the above, the atmosphere of togetherness is incomparable. The strangers that dedicate their entire day to coming out to spur you on;  the runners who are in just as much pain as you but find the strength to reassure you that you'll be ok; your deeper bonding between your family and friends . It's beautiful. It's brilliant. It's the best worst idea I ever had!

London Marathon 2017

I'm sore today but pain is temporary and the memories I created yesterday will last a lifetime. It's definitely too early to say whether I'd ever put myself through that again but I'm proud to say I did and I managed to smile through most of it. 

London Marathon Adrienne LDN

Well done to everyone who completed the marathon, thank you to everyone who supported and if ever you get the opportunity to do it for yourself... well, just think long and hard! 

London Marathon AJ Odudu 2017

XOXO

The London Marathon 2017 | Race Day Tips and Nervous Energy

Tomorrow, at 10am, I’m running the London Marathon. I genuinely thought at this point I’d be casually soaking myself in a nice hot bath and stuffing my face with a bag of spuds. Instead I woke up after 4 hours sleep, feeling overwhelming tired (naturally), nervous and teary.

London Marathon 2017 adidas

I've had recurring bad dreams where I am not allowed to run because I've lost my race number. That no one’s there to cheer me on and that Banana Man tripped me up! I'm asking myself how will I cope with massive highs and crashing lows, how will I tell myself to carry on when the voice on my shoulder is telling me to stop and why on Earth did I ever volunteer to do such a thing?! If you are feeling the same, it’s time to block out the negative voices, trust in the training you have done and realise that Banana Man doesn’t actually exist.

London Marathon 2017 Training

My friend James advised me “don’t let your head undo all your hard work”, Adrienne tells me “relax and put one foot in front of the other, the same way we always have”, Hayley says “see it as another long training run” and Alice says, “I’ll see you on the finish line with a big bottle of gin!” Even though my friends pearls of wisdom hasn’t completely stopped the butterflies, thankfully, they are calming me down.

AJ Odudu London Marathon

All in all, training for my first marathon has definitely been a mixed bag.  Though I’m sure once I cross that finish line and stop to reflect on the hard work I’ve put in, holding a champagne flute in one hand and my medal in the other, I’ll look at that same bag as nothing but a bag of goodies. So for the rest of the day I vow to only be concerned about the things I can take full control of. Let’s do this together!

London Marathon Race Day Tips

Plan Your Race Day Travel To Start

Get to the race in good time to drop your bag off, have multiple nervous trips to the loo and find your race pen.

  • Red numbers start at Greenwich or Maze Hill

  • Green at Maze Hill

  • Blue at Blackheath

Bag drop closes at 9:30am sharp and the only bag you're able to leave is the clear bag you were given your race number in.

Greenwich Park London Marathon 2017

Race Day Outfit

Tomorrow is not the day to try new things that may cause discomfort. Wear what you've been training in or that you have ran in comfortably before.

Take a layer of outerwear that you're happy to dispose of just before you race. This will be collected and given to charity.

white adidas boost

What To Eat

Hydrate by drinking 350-500ml of liquid 3- 4 hours before race time and then 250ml 45 mins before.

Eat a high carb breakfast 3-4 hours before. This could be porridge with milk and a banana or toast, honey and yoghurt or eggs on toast. Whatever you're used to eating before a long run.

1 hour before start have a carb rich snack such as a banana, or a bar or gel. As long as you're used to eating it.

RUN!

In the wise words of my friend Adrienne, move forward and do what we’ve been doing for yonks. Let’s go!

Millennium Wheel London Marathon 2017

Tell yourself you are ready you can do this and that the nervous energy you feel really is excitement...in disguise.

If you want to track my run download the official 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon app or cheer me on from the side lines. My race number is 56471. You can also follow my Instagram Story along the way @AJOdudu


Good luck to everyone running tomorrow and see you there!

XOXO

Ministry Does Fitness with Primark

Ministry Of Sound in London with it's epic club nights has been making people move since the 90s.  Now it has upped the action with the launch of a new slick gym space called, (no not Ministry Of Fit) Ministry Does Fitness. It has a variety of strength, cardio and yoga classes, a banging playlist (naturally) and a bar that offers a lot more than just protein shakes.

Skinny Prosecco

I took to The Arches to experience it's Ministry Of Sweat to test out the new Primark fit kit which is summery, pretty, affordable and, as I thoroughly road tested, can handle sweat in its stride.  Exercising has become the new clubbing for fitness enthusiasts like me, if only there were more bachelors to buy my Lucozades.

Primark Fitness Clothing

During the strengthening circuit class my Primark fit kit passed a few of my all important tests: the supportive test; my sports bra fit correctly and my little bumps stayed put.

Ministry Does Fitness
Bear Crawls Primark

The squat test; leggings didn't fall down when I was bear crawling, squatting and running so my underwear stayed well and truly, underwear.

And the stretch test: comfortable to wear and flex in.

Shoulder stretch Primark

Great class, nice clothing and fun with all my mates. Who fancies a gym and tonic?

XOXO

Where: The Arches, Ministry Does Fitness, Arches 80 and 81, Newington Court, SE1 6DD (Near Elephant & Castle Underground Station).

How Much: £14 a class but they also have package deals 

What I’m Wearing: Primark bra (£6), Primark jacket (£10) &  leggings (£7)

This blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Primark | #PrimarkSetGo

 

Dame Kelly Holme's Marathon Race Day Tips

So this is it, one week to go before the (insert expletive here) London Marathon.  Physically, I’ve pushed my body as far as it can go.  I’ve trained as regularly as humanly possible, four times a week since Christmas (not including the weeks I’ve had off).  I’ve taken care of my body so that I remain injury free (even though my knees creak like a deserted pirate ship).  I’ve been completely tee-total (apart from weekends and Friday nights).  And I’ve even been sleeping more than usual (alarm set to multi-snooze).

Dame Kelly Holmes

So at this late stage all that lies left is the mental preparation.  Which ironically is driving me, well, mental.  On a scale of 1 to bricking it I’m well into double figures.  Sometimes I can’t even visualise myself making it to the finish line, let alone in a good time. 

For inspiration I’ve been watching films such as Usain Bolt’s ‘I Am Bolt’ and Mo Farah’s 'No Easy Mile’.  This has helped somewhat.  My knees don’t creak curled up on the sofa.

Double Olympic Gold Dame Kelly Holmes

Fortunately I once met Dame Kelly Holmes too and she gave me some great little bits of advice fit for complete marathon novices. She said;

1. Pace YOURSELF

Every marathon runner lives in fear of hitting the proverbial wall but Holmes says there’s no such thing as a wall! “If you don’t over-exert yourself by starting too fast, I promise that you will not hit a wall”. She promised… so that makes it AOK. I’m going to run with an activity tracker to ensure that I am running as slow as I think I am to begin with.

Apple Watch

2. Run efficiently

When running uphill or on an incline, shorten your strides to reserve energy for when you hit the flat roads again to lengthen them. Use your arms to help propel you forward too. The better your running form the more energy you save.

Dame Kelly Holmes and AJ Odudu

3. Flex your temperament

Your body for all it's strength answers to the small squidgy ball between your ears, you need to harness the power of your mentality to crack the whip on your physicality. Holmes advises to "think of trigger words to give you a boost (i.e. You can, believe, fierce) and run with your name printed on your vest so that you can hear words of encouragement from the crowd too". 

26.2 miles is a long way no matter how trained you are and you’re going to feel sore and tired even before the moment you finish. Stretch, foam roll, ice bath and sports massages are all part of recovery.

Leg Stretch Dame Kelly Holmes

4. Eat Smart

"The night before the marathon I ate lots of small meals to fuel my muscles. I ate rice as I prefer it over pasta. On race day I ate porridge: a sustainable energy source that is also light". Lots of water is also important including electrolytes in water. And sleep. Of course you'll feel nervous but try to relax so that you feel fresh on race day. No multi-snooze button allowed.

5. Run With Pride

Remember that thousands of people across the globe would love to do the London Marathon and haven't been able to get a spot. We are lucky to have the opportunity to try. Holmes told me that "it's an incredible event that brings people together no matter their nationality, age, gender, interests, abilities and disabilities. The long, demanding run is worth it"!

Dame Kelly

I am so delighted to have met not only a running legend but a great, strong woman who reminded me that I must find the strength within. I still feel nervous but I hope on race day that I really can achieve and so can you!

Please share this blog post if you think it could help others and let me know if you have any other tips to avoid marathon induced panic attacks. Good luck!

xoxo