Eating Out In Amsterdam

I’m just home from an incredible 3-day city break in Amsterdam and I couldn’t be more upset about it. The minute we arrived in our hotel to leaving for the airport to fly home it was crazy busy but brilliant!

We stayed in a gorgeous hotel, The Hoxton, in an area called 9 streets. The hotel came highly recommended to us by a friend and it did not disappoint! We had an amazing room with a view out on to the canal so we couldn’t have asked for more.


However, I was apprehensive about having a weekend away from my normal routine, with the start of my marathon training cycle due to begin in just a weeks time. With no room in my hand luggage for my runners, I set about researching some healthy eateries to ensure that I at least stayed relatively on track with my nutrition. Upon arriving in Amsterdam, I quickly realised that it wasn’t going to be hard to eat well there. Being a pretty hip city, it was way ahead of the game in terms of health cafes and restaurants. This being said, I was also there to enjoy myself just before my training began so I didn’t want to be too strict with it.

On Friday, we were pretty hungry after travelling and arrived at our hotel just in time for lunch. We decided to dine at the hotels restaurant and use the time to get our bearings and figure out a plan of action for the coming days. The restaurant, Lotti’s, had quite a short menu but also offered good options for breakfast, lunch and dinner all within the one menu. I quite fancied a steak (one of my go-to choices when eating out as you can easily keep it relatively low-calorie by pairing with a salad or veg) but as it was lunchtime I opted for a salad instead. Chicken Caesar salad. Now this dish is a tricky one as once you add up the sauce, the Parmesan cheese and croutons, your lettuce based dish could end up clocking in at 1000+ calories. I’m a little fussy when it comes to ordering this. I always ask for dressing on the side – that way I can add the bare minimum or none at all. I also tend to request no croutons as I don’t really see the sense in ordering a salad if you’re going to eat half a loaf of crispy bread through it. However, in certain situations, I sometimes feel uncomfortable or feel it is not appropriate to be making such demands so I just leave them to the side. This time, Lotti’s were super accommodating and I got my dressing on the side! The salad itself; I’d give it a 6/10.

Friday night was a little bit of a disaster. We walked for miles across the city before we came to the restaurant where we eventually dined. We just hadn’t planned things properly and by the time we arrived and got a table it was well after 9pm and we were starving from the days exertions. We ate at an Argentinian restaurant in Jordaan called Salmuera. On walking through the door to our table we walked past a huge grill full of chicken, steak, pork and fish with the spicy aromas filling the air immediately…mmm!! At this point I knew we’d made a good choice and I was going to be able to eat well there. We both went for a 1/2 grilled chicken and shared a side of mixed vegetables and sweet potato. It was a high class Nandos – and that’s not a bad thing! 8/10.


I forgot to mention we drank quite a lot of red wine in the Argentinian place so I woke up on the Saturday morning feeling less than fresh – but still determined to stick to my plan of eating as well as possible. That went out the window when we ventured to The Pancake Bakery! It seemed like half of Amsterdam had the same idea.. but it’s always a good sign when you have to wait for a table. After Brandon convincing me I deserved it after all the walking we’d done (and it didn’t take a lot of convincing) I ordered a crepe style pancake with Nutella. It was everything that dreams are made of. I’m sure you can all imagine… but it beat me, I ended up feeling sick and couldn’t finish it. At that point I realised I’d made an error and should have gone for one of their savoury giant omelettes – which looked incredible! It still gets a solid 7/10 but be prepared for the laidback service!


Lunch on Saturday was on the go! We ended up getting a Braatwurst from a stall, Braat! on the rooftop terrace of the Heineken Experience. This was a solid 10/10. It was far from what I’d choose as a healthy lunch option back home but it tasted amazing and I really wanted to try it – so I decided not to deny myself a simple pleasure.

It was Italian (one of my favourite cuisines EVER!) on Saturday night at Casa Di David. It was just a short walk from our hotel which was also a bonus! We’d tried to get in on the Friday evening but they were fully booked – a good sign – so we had to wait! Make a reservation if you want to go at the weekend. I had Amatriciana bucatini (a kind of thick spaghetti-like pasta) and it was delicious. The carbs were most-welcomed after a long day of walking all over the ENTIRE city! I wish I’d worn my Fitbit to track how many miles we walked/steps we’d done.

Pancakes were on the menu again for Sunday morning. This time, we dined at a really cool restaurant, Mook, which was quite a walk from our hotel – but oh, so worth it! The simple, clean interior oozed style and it was clear we were in one of Amsterdam’s hip, well established brunch locations. Surrounded by loads of cool and quirky people, we couldn’t wait to get a look at the menu! Brandon was excited to see stacks of pancakes being served around us and we both opted for the Blue Magic Pancakes – organic pancakes served with blueberries, maple syrup and coconut. Brandon chose the deluxe version which included strawberries and banana too! They were absolutely delicious but again, I couldn’t finish them! It felt naughty but healthy at the same time! I highly rate this restaurant and would 100% return if I’m ever back in the city.


I realised I am a creature of habit when I ended up ordering another Caesar salad for lunch at a gorgeous restaurant we discovered, Herengracht, located in the Herengracht area. Either that or it’s just a popular salad that a lot of restaurants have on their menu. We dined outside in their terraced garden area with Brandon’s friends despite the sub-zero temperatures. That might be a bit of an exaggeration but it was close! I made my usual requests and to my surprise the waitress got it right without writing anything down. My salad arrived and it was delicious; a definite 9/10. Maybe it was the addition of the bacon but I wasn’t even jealous watching the boys eat club sandwiches and french onion soup!


Sadly, after all that our weekend in Amsterdam came to and end and it was off to the airport to catch our flight home! There was so much we didn’t see or do and I would love to return to experience it again and check out more of the places we discovered to eat!

I hope this is of some use to you all if you ever find yourselves in the Netherlands wondering where to eat out!

L x

‘I Can’t Run’

I said these exact same words to myself around a year ago when I struggled to run for longer than 5 minutes on a treadmill without feeling like I required a full tank of oxygen to breathe. I said it to my partner over and over again meanwhile I’d be sat on the sofa gorging on my second packet of crisps of the day. Then I was unable to run as my body didn’t have any fuel from starving myself. These were all excuses, because running was hard. In fact, it seemed damn near impossible to me at the time. I’d see people out running and wonder how they were performing this miraculous act. Oh, how messed up this thinking was. In reality, I couldn’t run because I wasn’t in a good frame of mind to try, not because MY body was incapable.

My first piece of advice to anyone looking to get into running is don’t tell yourself that you can’t do anything. As I’ve discovered – the human body is capable of a lot more than we may even realise. It adapts to whatever you put it through! Everyone can run. You just have to get out there and remember that the first run is always the hardest!!

Don’t do too much too soon either. Even experienced runners make this mistake. It’s no use running six times a week on week 1 and then week 2 is non-existent. Start slow and build it up until you’re consistent week to week. This is where you’ll see your body changing and progress being made.

I’m about to enter into my training cycle for the Edinburgh Marathon in May after 3 weeks of being unwell. I’ll begin on Monday 6 February and train for 16 weeks. After recovering from illness I wanted to get myself back to a base-level of fitness before this begins and my first time back pounding the pavements was tough. I ran 2.5 miles (which was all I could manage) on Monday and then 3 miles on Tuesday – in pretty slow times compared to what I was doing prior to Christmas. It was difficult for me, mentally, to listen to my body and ease myself back in slowly. Yes, I’m a bit gutted I didn’t run a bit further or a bit faster but I would have done more damage to my body going hell for leather on those 2 runs. I made that mistake just after Christmas in going back to the gym too soon and it put me out for a further 2 weeks!

And… just after getting back into running, I’m off to Amsterdam this weekend for 3 days so I’ll be taking some more time off exercising. Hopefully all the walking we do whilst sightseeing will make up for it! I’ve also done a lot of research into healthy-eating hotspots in Amsterdam so I’ll be doing a post on where to stay on track whilst in the city, when I get back! Keep your eyes peeled!

Time to get my bags packed! Have a good one.

L x

 

I’m Back!

After what feels like forever (it’s actually been a quick four months) I am back in the world of blogging! I may have taken a break from writing, but there has certainly been no breaks in my life as of recent… It’s been all go, since I was last detailing my journey through 100 days of health and well-being.

I learned a lot in those 100 days and it certainly was not the end of my story. I’ve stuck with my gym routine and continued focusing on my nutrition, having genuinely transformed my entire lifestyle in just a short 3 and a half months.

Here’s what I’ve been up to over the last 4 months whilst I’ve been away from blogging about my fitness efforts;

  • I completed my 10km Race for Life in 55 minutes (a PB) and raised just over £400 for Cancer Research UK. The race was on Father’s Day and I was crying at the start, thinking about how proud my Dad would be if he could see where I was and how I had changed my entire outlook on life! I found my fire!

img_6893-1

  • Brandon and I purchased our first flat together in the beautiful area of Stockbridge in Edinburgh. We moved in at the end of June and it’s currently a work in progress but our vision is coming together bit by bit.

img_7254

  • I signed up to my first Marathon in Edinburgh. Fast and flat is how it’s described! I needed a new challenge and I’ve got until May 2017 to prepare – so my blog will most likely shift focus to my Marathon training in the next few months.

img_6870

  • I’ve started a new meal plan and am now eating more than ever – and fueling my body for all the hard work I put it through. I’ll be going into more detail about this in my coming posts!

  • I’ve taken up Spinning in the gym and have a new-found love for the bike! However, it has yet to surpass my love for running.
  • We booked a holiday! Brandon and I are off to Tenerife for a week of sun at the end of October – I literally cannot wait! The all-inclusive buffet is calling my name…
  • I read a book which gripped me from the beginning and has stuck firmly with me since I finished it. It’s a must read – Finding Ultra by Rich Roll. It details his journey of neglecting the life of a typical 40 year old, overweight male to becoming one of the fittest men in the world; and all the challenges in between. Keep your eyes peeled for a full review to follow!
  • For my birthday weekend, Brandon surprised me with entry to Bear Gryll’s Survival Race 5km… and even signed himself up to do it with me! I bet he wishes he had a normal girlfriend who wasn’t obsessed with adventure! It was a tough slog of blood, sweat and tears – literally… but we got through it together and we finished!!

img_7391

Anyways, that’s all from me for just now.. I was just checking in!

See you all very soon,

L x

Day Ninety Two – I Made It

When I got up this morning I was feeling a little unsteady but as I was home, in my bed early and got a good enough sleep it wasn’t as bad as it could have been! I was up at 6am and despite knocking over a glass of juice and having to clean it up, then forgetting the bus times were different due to the bank holiday, I made it to the gym and got a pretty decent workout in. I wasn’t quite up for a run (that could have been chaos with my fragile stomach) so I opted for a full body workout. I pushed myself until I seriously could not handle any more. I was really proud of myself for going. I used to party a lot during my time at university and I’d never work out the morning after a night out – well actually I’d never work out period. This is a massive step in the right direction for me and I’m learning that my fitness and health means a lot more to me than having a few too many drinks. I care more about fitting in my workouts than nights out and I have been criticised for that but each to their own right? I’ll have the last laugh I’m sure. I’d much rather be drenched in sweat in the gym than lying in my bed hungover.

My intake for the day was:

  • Nutrigrain Granola Bar
  • M&S Sweet Chilli Lentil Curls (this felt like I was eating crisps – ideal!)
  • Harissa Chicken and Couscous Salad
  • Risotto w/ Chorizo and Peppers

I got home from work and Brandon’s Mum had prepared our dinner for us. I was massively grateful for this as it meant I could just hop into bed afterwards and chill out. After a long day at work it was exactly what I was needing.

See; Monday’s are not so bad!

L x

Day Eighty Nine – Full Body Friday Workout

I’m a total doughnut. I set my alarm for 9am rather than 6am by accident. Luckily, my body is more than used to getting up early and I woke up naturally just after 6am. I’d have been really annoyed at myself if I’d slept in and missed the gym, nevermind being late to work! I skipped my cardio again this morning and did a heavy full body workout. I put my legs through their paces which I haven’t done properly for a while. Squats, Lunges and Deadlifts. REPEAT. REPEAT. REPEAT. I can guarantee I’ll be feeling it tomorrow. I then did the same with my core. I used heavier weights and upped my reps to get a really great burn.

I was a little bit naughty with my intake today, but it was nice to allow myself the things I wanted:

  • Nutrigrain Granola Bar
  • Apple
  • Graze Blueberry Toasts w/ White Chocolate Dip
  • M&S Sweet Chilli Lentil Curls
  • Smartie’s Cookie (this is where it all went wrong)
  • Salad w/ Chicken
  • Chicken Burrito – No Sour Cream, Beans etc so it’s not too bad
  • Doritos w/ Salsa
  • Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut

Brandon and I decided to have a night in and grab some dinner when he picked me up from work. We stopped off at Illegal Jacks for some Mexican and I have to say it was outstanding. The food was fresh and by omitting the high-fat ingredients, I’m hoping it wasn’t too calorific. Not that it matters with what I ate afterwards. I was having really bad cravings and I gave in to them. I ate far too much and too much of the wrong foods, which I’m slightly disappointed by. I don’t want to throw away any progress by eating crisps and chocolate, but at the same time I enjoyed it and life is for enjoying. As I’ve said countless times it’s all about having the balance.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

L x