IGO Adventures Scotland Expedition

Hey my good time gang!

Hope you’re enjoying this wonderful weekend. So a couple of weekends back I was lucky enough to be taken away with the IGO Adventure team to bonny Scotland! It just happened to be one of my favourite adventures to date!

55km covered. Canoeing, hiking, trail runs, bonfires, yoga, mountain summits! What a weekend of EPICNESS. Check out what went down in my vlog with the (also epic) Alice Rickard. Find out what we got up to in the Vlog below:

This was just a mini version of the epic adventures that IGO get up to. There next trips include, Montana and Iceland. They’re also re running the fun with the Scotland trip so if you like what you see you can get involved here!

Whether you’re going near or far, get out there and enjoy natures outdoor gym! What adventures are you guys getting up to this year? I’d love to hear all about them! 

Sending health & happiness, 

Kim x

With special thanks to the incredible team at IGO Adventures for showing us this wonderful adventure. Also to Columbia and Manduka for making sure we were kitted out for it.

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What to Do on Your Paris Mini Break

Perusing like a Parisian

Oh we do love to have a potter around gaye Paris, not least when the sun has got his happy little hat on. Last week my best girl pal and I hopped, skipped and jumped on to 11am Eurostar from London to Paris. Simply in Paris for the joy of exploration and living as the Parisians do (with a side of tacky touristing!) We were there for what I consider a great amount of time to see a lot of the main sites of Paris; 2nights and 3 days. We covered a fair feet but had ample time to soak up the atmosphere of the city blooming beautifully into Spring. Here’s a low down of what we got up to and the gems (not worth missing!) that we found along the way. 

Day 1

We opted for the simple and slightly more affordable stay at the Hotel Des Nations located on Rue Monde not far from the Latin Quarter. The hotel offered impeccable service and exactly what we needed in terms of a basic clean comfortable room for our 2 nights stay.

Daytime

Checking in Wednesday afternoon we grabbed the first chance we had to go and explore the French cuisine. Taking a short stroll around the Latin Quarter we found a gorgeous square where Cafe Delmas took our fancy. We hadn’t looked up where to eat at that point we just stumbled on the restaurant. Between us we ate a selection of steak tartar, cheese, red wine, frites – could we be any more French!? Sitting with the sun shining down we people watched whilst gazing into the square.

 

A short walk later we strolled along over the river to Notre Dame, taking in all of its beauty as we went. A friend had recommended Les Marais as a top spot for hip and trendy restaurants, bars and shops which was short walk from Notre Dame. Catching a glimpse of the extremely innovative “pompidieu centre” – which shows a phenomenal building described as being “inside out”, think all the workings of a building but on the outside. Quite the feat of engineering and architecture. The sun beamed down on us so we didn’t want to spend hours queueing to enter the museum – if we had more time it would have been a nice option to explore. Us Brits – never ones to miss out on sunshine opportunities you know! We meandered our way through the Parisian streets through Les Marais, catching a drink by the river Seine at Le Saint-Regis – perfect people watching territory. 

Evening

We had spoken to our concierge about the local burlesque offerings, curious to explore. We were recommended the Lido show on the Champs Elysee. So after a quick freshen up we were tottering or way down he Champs Elysee – a street of pure beauty and bustle! Gazing at the Arc De Triomphe before chomping on nutella and banana filled crepes (when in France right!?) we then made our way to the show.

Wow la Lido, what a show! I can certainly say I’ve never seen anything quite like it. There was “a lot” to be seen – think many many beautiful topless (and basically almost pantless) girls ferociously shaking what their mumma gave them. Chuck in some acrobats, contortionists aplenty, gymnastics, you name it. It made for a pretty entertaining, if a little peculiar show! We finished the night with yet more wine and cheese and head to bed ready for day 2.

Dancing with Musee du Louvre

Day 2

Daytime

Full of beans ready to explore our second day in Paris, we head for happily yet more French cuisine – pastries! It was quite magic sitting back a relaxing with a pastry and a coffee in a quintessentially Parisian coffee shop. Le Sully was an obvious local spot, just off the river, the perfect place to start our day people watching and planning our next steps. 

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We were blessed with wonderful weather so after breakfast we took a stroll along the River Seine, all the way up to Musee du Louvre. Ever iconic and the home place of the great Mona-Lisa painting. After we strolled passed the Hotel De Ville, back the Les Marais (inadvertently getting lost trying to find the Sacre Couer, don’t ask!). From Les Marais we walked all the way up to Montmarte. We choose to walk as much as we could in the day, which was especially nice given the sunshine, but the Metro proved a very efficient and easy means when we did ride it. By the time we reached Montmarte (and detour!) we were hungry for lunch. So lucky that we knew to go and visit Pink Mumma’s. What a spot!!! I couldn’t recommend this place highly enough. Gorgeous building, filled with gorgeous interior, enter glass and plants everywhere. Divine Italian cuisine. A true gem of a find in the city. Next we finally found the Sacre Couer, walked the many steps to see it up close and personal and take in the fabulous views of the city.

From our trip to Monmarte we found ourselves heading to tourist hotspot the Eiffel Tour, but choose to admire its beauty from a far as part of the scenery vs fighting off the tourist crowds to go up it. It really is a sight of true beauty and architectural genius. Breathtaking, no matter how many times you’ve seen it. It’s also surrounded by the most beautiful gardens, perfect spot for a picnic. 

Evening

The evening took us to trendy hang out Canal St Martin. We sipped wine at trendy wine bar (and restaurant le verre voile. We originally went for dinner but it was super packed out. We were allowed to sip wine on the street, becoming completely immersed in the buzz of the city at night. We later ate at the Fuxee, which also proved a nice choice for dinner.

Shakespeare & Co Independent Book Store

Day 3

Day time

Already on the last day we decided it would be wrong not to make the most of another patisserie. The pastries are to die for! Nothing like what we get at home. French has got to be my all time favourite food! All of the beige, all of the YUM! After grabbing a pain au raisin to go we found ourselves back near the Notre Dame. There we found the most incredible coffee and bookshop Shakespeare & Company. An absolute must see if you’re in the city. The cutest book shop filled with little rabbit warrens of book cases after book cases. People reading and coffeeing to the hearts content. We grabbed a matcha latte whilst looking over the Notre Dame. 

Paris really is the most beautiful city. When you get a chance to sit back and take it all in you see the French Revolutions influence on the buildings.The whites and greys of the buildings dazzle in the sunshine. The city is simplest form of chic from building to building. Speaking of chic, the capital is is obviously also very well known for its fashion. Wrong then to leave without browsing the Rue Saint Honore and the Place Vendome. Iconic fashion areas with top fashion houses and brands aplenty. Nearby Angelina’s also proving a wonderful stop off for their renown hot chocolate and cakes (we had the mille feuille which was to die for). Good for lunch too and definitely worth the visit.

A speedy trip back through the Luxemburg gardens, a glance at the Pantheon and we were then on our way back to Gare Du Nord – ready physically (but not really emotionally!) for our trip back to London.

Want to get your fitness fix whilst your away?

Wanting to dabble in the French fitness scene? Why not try Chez Simone on the gorgeous Rue Ravioli? The perfect place to grab a boxing, circuits, yoga or pilates class. Then eat and chill in their beautiful cafe and lounge area. Another glorious option is a run along the River Seine, sightsee as you get your sweat fix, what could be better?

My Paris Take Home?

I can honestly say I didn’t ever feel the instant attraction to Paris in previous visits. My view was completely changed on this trip. I saw it in new light; with the help of the sun shining gloriously and seeing a new less touristic view of the city. By walking we really got to appreciate the local culture. We certainly made the most of the cuisine! It was an easy city to navigate once you found your barings. Uber works exactly the same as home for those late nights getting back, the French were (dare I say surprisingly) friendly and welcoming, the Metro was easily understood. Beautiful architecture. Wonderful sights. Incredible city vibe. Paris you’ve managed to win me over with your romantic charm. I can’t wait to go back! 

I hope this can help give you a little insight into what a potential mini break could look like in Paris – especially if you’re in the foodie way of life! Please let me know any questions you may have or recommendations for the future – I’ll certainly be racing back soon! 

Sending health & happiness,

Kim x

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April Adjusts: Fix Your Plank to Chaturunga

Next up in APRIL ADJUSTS with myself and @sophia.bc : PLANK to CHATURANGA

So, 2nd up in our #AprilAdjusts campaign is Plank to “Chaturanga” (half plank). It’s a staple transition in vinyasa classes, and otherwise, are poses in their own right. When students, or any yogi, gets tired and lacks the strength or awareness of how to do these properly, or what an ‘easier’ variation is, you end up putting a lot of stress through the delicate front parts of the shoulder joint (ligaments, tendons, rotator cuff). Shoulder pain is such a common yoga injury – and it really shouldn’t be!
.
Main points to consider:
PLANK
💫Hands under shoulders, with hands spread.
💫Push up and away from floor, so rounding upper back between shoulder blades.
💫Curl tailbone under you, so deep core engages.
💫Legs are super strong and engaged (bum, hamstrings, quads, calves).
💫If you can’t keep tailbone curled, then drop to knees without moving position of toes or hands – push hips forward, lift chest, pull shoulders down, then curl tailbone, so straight line of energy from knees to crown of head.

HALF PLANK
Maybe you can hold full plank, but not half plank, and that’s when shoulder injuries happen. So maybe now, drop to your knees and then lower to half plank.
💫Literally keep the same shape in the body as full plank – legs strong, tailbone curled, so lower back stays in a neutral position.
💫Bend elbows no more than 90º and draw them into side ribs (or take this pose all the way to the floor).
💫Actively pull your shoulder blades down your back body, feeling side body muscles engage, and muscles between shoulder blades.
💫If you collapse your hips on the way down, do this pose on your knees! Chest and hips must stay the same level as you lower, with the collar bones spreading apart, so the shoulders don’t roll in.
.
These are tough poses, so take the time to build strength and awareness of which muscles are engaging to keep the shoulders and lower back safe, by doing them on your knees for a while. It halves the weight your upper body and core need to deal with! If you have any questions, or need other options for these postures, just let us know!

Sending health & happiness,

Kim & Sophia x

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||APRIL ADJUSTS with @kimhartwell @sophia.bc ⭐️PLANK to CHATURANGA⭐️|| So, 2nd up in our #AprilAdjusts campaign is Plank to “Chaturanga” (half plank). It’s a staple transition in vinyasa classes, and otherwise, are poses in their own right. When students, or any yogi, gets tired and lacks the strength or awareness of how to do these properly, or what an ‘easier’ variation is, you end up putting a lot of stress through the delicate front parts of the shoulder joint (ligaments, tendons, rotator cuff). Shoulder pain is such a common yoga injury – and it really shouldn’t be! . Main points to consider: PLANK 💫Hands under shoulders, with hands spread. 💫Push up and away from floor, so rounding upper back between shoulder blades. 💫Curl tailbone under you, so deep core engages. 💫Legs are super strong and engaged (bum, hamstrings, quads, calves). 💫If you can’t keep tailbone curled, then drop to knees without moving position of toes or hands – push hips forward, lift chest, pull shoulders down, then curl tailbone, so straight line of energy from knees to crown of head. HALF PLANK Maybe you can hold full plank, but not half plank, and that’s when shoulder injuries happen. So maybe now, drop to your knees and then lower to half plank. 💫Literally keep the same shape in the body as full plank – legs strong, tailbone curled, so lower back stays in a neutral position. 💫Bend elbows no more than 90º and draw them into side ribs (or take this pose all the way to the floor). 💫Actively pull your shoulder blades down your back body, feeling side body muscles engage, and muscles between shoulder blades. 💫If you collapse your hips on the way down, do this pose on your knees! Chest and hips must stay the same level as you lower, with the collar bones spreading apart, so the shoulders don’t roll in. . These are tough poses, so take the time to build strength and awareness of which muscles are engaging to keep the shoulders and lower back safe, by doing them on your knees for a while. It halves the weight your upper body and core need to deal with! If you have any questions, or need other options for these postures, just let us know 🙏🏼 #AprilAdjusts #Yoga #Alignment

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April Adjusts: Fix Your Downward Dog

So as promised, 1st up in our #AprilAdjustscampaign is 🐶 “Downward Facing Dog” (Adho mukha śvānāsana), probably the most common asana in your practice. Also the one we tend to see some alignment issues with which can be easily adjusted.
.
Main points to remember:
✨Start in a plank position, this will give you a good idea of distance for your dog shape.
✨Tailbone lifts up and back.
✨As the toes turn slightly in and feet hip width, bend the knees at first to keep length in the spine.
✨Hands spread widely but comfortably with a suction-cup feeling in the palms (not straining).
✨Fingertips and knuckles of the palms grounding (hasta bandha), especially between 1st finger and thumb.
✨Bicep wrapped and facing forward, to spread shoulder blades actively away from the spine. ✨Ribs pull in.
✨Send energy out the tailbone, softening heels down, but not necessarily getting them to the ground – this has a lot do with ankle dorsiflexion (the majority of people can’t get the heels to the ground initially).
✨Eventually work towards straightening the legs but keeping a gentle anterior tilt of the pelvis, so the back is lengthening, not rounding.
✨If you find your shoulders want to go over your hands (which strains the wrists), bend the knees to lift tailbone up and back – moving the arms back and away from the wrists, this a great place to start with your Down Dog alignment.
.
Let us know any questions and do let us know how you get on with it. This is great to work on, especially if you’re new to yoga. Remember yoga is for EVERYONE!
Everyones body is different so we each look a little different in each posture and that’s totally fine! #AprilAdjusts #yoga#alignment

 

Sending health & happiness,

Kim & @sophia.bc x

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||APRIL ADJUSTS – DOWNWARD FACING DOG⭐️|| So as promised, 1st up in our #AprilAdjusts campaign is 🐶 "Downward Facing Dog” (Adho mukha śvānāsana), probably the most common asana in your practice. Also the one we tend to see some alignment issues with which can be easily adjusted. . Main points to remember: ✨Start in a plank position, this will give you a good idea of distance for your dog shape. ✨Tailbone lifts up and back. ✨As the toes turn slightly in and feet hip width, bend the knees at first to keep length in the spine. ✨Hands spread widely but comfortably with a suction-cup feeling in the palms (not straining). ✨Fingertips and knuckles of the palms grounding (hasta bandha), especially between 1st finger and thumb. ✨Bicep wrapped and facing forward, to spread shoulder blades actively away from the spine. ✨Ribs pull in. ✨Send energy out the tailbone, softening heels down, but not necessarily getting them to the ground – this has a lot do with ankle dorsiflexion (the majority of people can’t get the heels to the ground initially). ✨Eventually work towards straightening the legs but keeping a gentle anterior tilt of the pelvis, so the back is lengthening, not rounding. ✨If you find your shoulders want to go over your hands (which strains the wrists), bend the knees to lift tailbone up and back – moving the arms back and away from the wrists, this a great place to start with your Down Dog alignment. . Let us know any questions and do let us know how you get on with it. This is great to work on, especially if you’re new to yoga. Remember yoga is for EVERYONE 🧘🏼‍♀️Everyones body is different so we each look a little different in each posture and that’s totally fine! #AprilAdjusts #yoga #alignment @sophia.bc

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The North Face #SheMovesMountains Launch

Last night my fellow adventurer and all round awesome explorer buddy Sophie Everard (of Mad to Live blog and retreats) and I attended The North Face #SheMovesMountains launch party.

So What’s the Campaign All About?

The campaign #SheMovesMountains itself is targeted at raising the voices of women who are pushing boundaries in all areas of exploration. This is their very first all women campaign, with the likes of awe inspiring pin up adventure women like Margo Hayes, Hilaree Oneill, Ashima Shiraishi and Fernanda Maciel. Covering no small feat, these adventurers are most certainly in line with the North Face’s campaign of breaking boundaries: 

  • Fernanda Maciel is an ultra-distance runner and The North Face athlete, who has broken the record for the fastest female time up and down Mount Kilimanjaro. Fernanda ran the Tanzanian route from Umbwe Gate to the summit and then down to the Mweka Gate, in just 10 hours and 6 minutes, breaking the previous record of 12 hours and 58 minutes held by Anne-Marie Flammersfeld by nearly three hours.
  • Bonita Norris has climbed the world’s highest mountains, including being the youngest climber to climb Mt Everest. In 2016 she made an attempt on K2 in Pakistan and in 2017 published her first book The Girl Who Climbed Everest.
  • Ashima Shiraishi At the age of thirteen-year-old, Ashima Shiraishi is already one of the strongest climbers in the world. The New York Times has called her a “Bouldering Phenom” while Outside Magazine coined the “Young Crusher.” And rightfully so: no climber, male or female, has ever bouldered at such high level at such a young age.
  • Margo Hayes – Since she began climbing in 2008, she has quickly become a consistent podium finisher in sport and bouldering competitions around the world, first in the youth categories and now in the open age category. But not only is she the reigning national champion in women’s sport climbing, she is quickly proving she can keep up with the best in outdoor climbing as well. In February 2016, she entered the ranks of the world’s most elite climbers by sending La Rambla and 5.15a route in Siurana, Spain.

Absolutely stellar line up if you ask me! Be sure to check it out at www.northface.com where you can see the incredible campaign championing women who break boundaries and the push towards even more incredible female adventures and explorers worldwide.

 

The Campaign Launch Event

At last nights event I can honestly say I’ve never felt so empowered and more ready and raring to take on bigger and better challenges in my field. As an avid rock climber but fairly new to the field, I was completely starstruck to be within the presence of such mountaineering, trail running and climbing greatness as mega athletes Fernanda Maciel and Bonita Norris.

The event was pumped full of all the inspiration any pro adventure (and adventure newbie) could ask for. We heard the tales of great summits achieved by extraordinary women in adventure. Then we were lucky enough to have an hour long Q&A session with Fernanda Maciel, Bonita Norris, Farrah Storr (Editor of Cosmopoliton), Lou Boyd (Editor of Cooler magazine) and Carly Wilford (DJ, presenter and all round good time girl!).

 

Key take home points?

  • Once we see women in mountaineering and adventuring, you know you can do it. By seeing female role models in the field like in campaigns such as the North Face, women will be more likely to follow suit. Many current adventurers role models are male. This campaign is amazing for highlighting the women role models out there in the sport.
  • By showing representaion of women in the sport, the expectation of women will be allowed to be higher. By spreading the campaigns message and support for women in adventure, we can begin to believe and live by the fact that she absolutely does move mountains! 
  • The future is about moving mountains, going that extra mile, not just following the beaten track. The women on the Q&A panel each described the challenges they faced and the importance of those challenges for where they have got to today.
  • When asked about facing challenges Fernando Maciel simply put it that you have to “understand what fear is – it’s there to teach you and is usually temporary. See it as a positive and not negative. You’ll always be stronger from it. It doesn’t mean run away, it means face it head on. It teaches you something about yourself. Move through it, there’s always something great on the other side.”
  • Farrah Storr elaborated on this point further….”Feel the fear, do it anyway and learn from it”. She spoke about the importance of knowing where you want to go. Trying to make those 5,10,15 year plans. Once you know where you’re going, you’ll be less likely to veer off course, taking the path around a tricky obstacle. “If you know what is on the other side you will go through it. It’s all about not moving horizontally.”
  • When we spoke about obstacles in the way, Carly Wilford explained, what we go through is a transformation. It might feel irrelevant at the time but it’s actually part of the journey. Wilford’s infectious personality and down to earth manner is enough to motivate even the strongest pessimist. Put wonderfully bluntly she says it’s about being brave enough to say: “Fuck it I’m going my own way. Creating my own path. I’m going to do things differently. Connecting with myself. I’m here to do something different. That’s why I don’t fit in.” 
  • Lou Boyd echoes this saying you’re…“Doing something right if your legs are dangling off the edge a bit”
  • What if it fails? Again, solid advice from mega journalist mogul Storr: “never walk past a mistake, examine what went wrong and learn from it”.

Real World Implementation

Not only is the campaign incredible for women in the sport, The North Face also practice what they preach. Not only are they pushing this phemonemal campaign but they have also teamed up with The Outward Bound Trust (who do a number of incredible initiatives to introduce an entire generation of girls to the benefits of the outdoor exploration. With the support of The North Face’s NeverStop Community, together they lead over 1600 young women in the wild – from venturing out to a crag to learn the rock climbing basics, hiking on foot deep into the mountains, to kayaking amongst seals.

Now I don’t know about you but I’m ready to go on an absolutely move mountains. The force is absolutely female. Lets get adventuring and conquering the incredible feats of both men and women before us.

Find out more about the North Face campaign and the Outward Bound Trust here. 

Stay tuned on the blog for my introduction to rock climbing as well as exciting events in the pipeline. Can’t wait that long? Check out my interview with UK bouldering legend Shauna Coxsey here. Happy climbing team!

Sending health & happiness,

Kim x

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