MuLondon: 100% Vegan Glow


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Q: How many chemicals have you rubbed on your face today?

A:  200. Yes I said 200! This is the number of chemicals the average woman smears on her skin every day due to unnatural skincare. 60% of these chemicals are now floating around in your bloodstream.

Q: The average number of chemicals in organic skincare?

A: 0%

Despite having what can only be described as glowing skin growing-up, I’ve had minor breakouts of acne periodically since university. The only good thing about my breakouts was that they disappeared, leaving no lasting damage. Then come your thirties however; more hormonal changes, and you guessed it. More spots.

I tried peels, facials, more sunshine, expensive creams and not so expensive creams. I even went against my beliefs and tried medication, all to no avail. Then I got to thinking. I eat organic, chemical-free, vegan food, yet I am happy to rub ingredients onto my face when I can’t even pronounce them?

Your skin is your body’s largest living breathing organ. When you put chemicals on it, your skin, in its own way, ingests them. I wouldn’t choose to eat, drink or even lick a chemical cocktail, so I decided to stop forcing my skin to and adapt an organic, chemical free skin care routine courtesy of my new magical find MuLondon.

I won’t lie and say I’m spot free, but it’s 80% better. My skin is glowing, shine-free and it’s getter better day by day. The products can be used day or night, smell gorgeous and leave your skin feeling fresh and energized. Better still, I can pronounce everything on the (very small) ingredients list. I opted for the Rose Foaming Face Wash and Hemp Moisturiser. Both of which I just adore and couldn’t live without. Thank you Mu.


A little about MuLondon

MuLonodn specialise in producing fabulous natural and organic stuff for your skin, body and home. These fine products are made by hand from pure, natural and, where possible, certified organic ingredients. MuLondon products contain no artificial preservatives, emulsifiers or fragrances. Instead, pure natural essential oils and herbal extracts are used to divinely scent and gently preserve.

All products are 100% vegan and are registered by The Vegan Society. Never use any animal ingredients. All suppliers are thoroughly vetted and share the MuLondon green and ethical ideals: no animal testing, proactive environmental, recycling and fair-trade policies and support for community projects.



Not Bad For a First ‘Tri’


A new year is upon us. And with that New Year comes new beginnings and new goals. It’s a chance to put the past behind you and zoom into the triathlon future with renewed vigor. While many lay in bed contemplating resolutions, no doubt regretting certain over indulgence from the night before, David and I were up and out the door for the New Years Day Triathlon. My first triathlon.

It was a very sober and well hydrated Christmas and New Year in the Huckell-Laidlaw household this year. I opted to drive on Christmas Day and (sad as it may seem) was asleep by 10pm on the 31st  – even though was David’s Birthday. Sleep is key point number one however, and this was important to me. It was important because I couldn’t swim a few months ago, had a serious operation in February and had watched David do this tri-malarkey too many times. I wanted a shot!

The usual morning nausea set-in on arising, that appears to be the same as running. You know how it goes, trying to chew your porridge with a stomach resembling that of a post gastric band patient. Needs must. Nutrition is key point number two. I’m slightly obsessed with point number two, but that’s a whole other blog.

The main thing to highlight at this point was that the sun was shining. That elusive yellow ball of light that we hadn’t been present for two whole weeks beforehand! To top it all off the travel time to race was 10 minutes. Good start I thought. Now comes the bit I was most excited about. Registration. Why? Because someone was going to draw a number on me, albeit in a smelly permanent marker number, but it made it makes everything seem real. I felt pretty dammed cool. Here we go…


Transition was a bit windy, making me slightly worried that my things might end up somewhere other than the tidy little set-up I had created beside my shiny new bike. Everyone else seemed to be more concerned about the cold, in my mind compared to last year, it was practically tropical. It was at that point however that someone truly ‘Scottish’ wandered past proclaiming “Oh! We’ve got a candidate for all the gear – no idea” It’s at times like these that one bites ones tongue (and thinks I’m going to nail your ass on that hill).

After a few wise words from David, Dave, Sue and Ray it was off to the pool. I managed to sneak in a few warm-up laps in the diving pool, which was an added bonus. The heat was roughly 50 people following each other at 5 second intervals up and down each of eight 50m lanes, ducking under the lane rope at each end. To be honest it was a bit of a free for all, so I just put my head down caught onto a pair of feet and went for it, all of Scott Belfour’s swim advice echoing in my head. Funnily enough he was there when I came out of the water – my hands high in the air giving it a ‘whoop whoop’. “Caaaaammm Doooooon’ was all he said. Priceless.


Probably best not to discuss the lengthily transition. Best laid plans, I get a hall pass, and it was my first one after all. I did also cycle out onto the course with my gloves still on my tri bars. But lets not discuss that either. The bike course was no problem, I’ve been cycling and running around that bad boy for a while now with my new little beauty – not David, my bike (she’s called Rinny) and she didn’t let me down. Wee smasher. I also would like to point out that I sailed past Mrs “all the gear no idea” at this point. Just a small smirk was all it took to get the point across, while somewhere in my head I was lifting my bum and farting in her head wind.


I made it in and out of T2 with less problems and out onto the run course in the sunshine. I felt surprisingly springy to be honest, the crowds and supporters were great,  I received a Mexican wave on the downhill and even managed a few chats on the way round. David has since told me off for this. Racing is apparently no time for conversation or making friends.

I crossed the finish line in 1:23:49. I wasn’t out for time on my first one, but I was pretty pleased with that. I felt great and loved every second. I placed 6th female overall and 5th in my age category. Keeping it up I even managed to place 10th at the Bupa Great Winter Run on the Saturday. Thanks again to all the Newhaven folks out on the day cheering, to Stephen Keppie our sports massage man for support on the hill, and to David for being so patient!

Roll on 2013 and having lots more ‘tri’s’…







Fight the Common Cold – The Natural Way


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It is 100% Autumn here in Scotland. The leaves on the trees are turning gorgeous shades of red and brown, soup is my favourite board on Pinterest, and the winter running kit is officially out and on for the next few months. I love chilly, sunny days, especially first thing in the morning. Cold air seems to make the body feel alive!

Sadly though, this time of year can bring bugs and sniffles, having been ill myself this week I wanted to share a great cold busting smoothie recipe with you. Not only will this bad boy make you feel better, it will literally shake those bugs out your system! Fighting the common cold can be a daunting task. Rather than spending your money on nasty pills and over the counter medicines to treat symptoms, try a more natural approach and give your body the fuel it needs to stay healthy – and treat the problem at the source.

The truth is you don’t get the cold because of the season, the flu and the common cold are caused by viruses. People get ill more often in the winter because we are exposed to each other more in the winter than in the summer. When it is cold outside, people tend to stay inside and are more likely to spread germs (ewww). There is also evidence that viruses spread more easily through dry air. So when you pump up the heater it’s easier for germs to pass from one person to another. 

If you’ve got that sneaky feeling that a cold or flu is coming on grab the Vitamix and whip-up this smoothie recipe. It will have you back on track in no time. The jury is out on the taste, I find it quite hard going but my husband really likes it. The main thing is that it is doing good. Don’t forget to up your water intake and get lots of sleep…zzzzz.

Stay well everyone! 

1 celery stalk 
1 handful of fresh parsley 
1 handful of fresh basil 
1 handful of dill (dried if you don’t have dill) 
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 
1/2 cup kombucha (use green tea if you don’t have any) 
1/2 cup water
1 tsp cayenne pepper 
1/2 lemon (skin removed) 
Pop in the Vitamix (or other high-speed blender) for a couple of minutes and drink-up.



Guilt, Sugar and Fat Free Vegan Carrot Cake


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This recipe just HAS to be shared! The first time I made it I was really nervous, for some reason I thought there was no way it could work. Well! How could I be so wrong, it really was one of those ‘Oh My God’ moments when something tastes just delicious. 

There really is nothing bad in here, it’s 100% delicious and 100% nutritious – yet you still feel like you’re having a naughty treat! Get baking and enjoy…


  • 240g Whole Wheat or Spelt Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 300ml Water
  • 190g Chopped Dates
  • 150g Raisins
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice Powder
  • 2-3 Carrots (Shredded)
  • 120g Chopped Walnuts
  • Juice of one orange or more if you like it stronger. You can also use carrot juice if you like. 
  • A little orange rind (optional) 
  • As needed water or some more juice depending upon the consistency of the batter.
  • Preheat oven for 15 minutes at 375F/190C. Lightly grease and line an 8 or 9 inch cake pan or loaf tin. I like the loaf tin as it is easier to cut into slices. Very personal! 
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda and powder and salt; set aside.
  • In a saucepan, combine together the water, dates, raisins and allspice powder. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Place the shredded carrots in a large bowl. Pour the hot liquid mixture on top of it and let it cool completely.
  • Once it is cool add the chopped walnuts and juice; combine it well.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir well together.
  • Pour the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Mine was done in about 40 minutes itself.
  • If you have lined the cake pan with parchment paper you will be able to remove the cake just after 20 minutes. On the other hand if you have just greased the pan, it might take a couple of hours before you could remove the cake from the pan without breaking.
  • This sugar free cake tasted absolutely delicious without frosting, but if you choose to frost wait for the cake to cool completely and frost it with your favorite frosting.

All Day Granola


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Firstly, my apologies. Being a little sport daft I have been in the throws of Olympic Fever for the last two weeks! The UK has come alive over the last 16 days, showcasing the ‘best of the best’ to the world and putting on a games to remember. Needless to say I’m feeling super inspired…anything is possible!

On that note, I thought I’d share my All Day Granola with you. It’s all to easy to get in a breakfast rut, so having a jar of this magic, healthy stuff in your cupboard can break up any tired breakfast routine. It also makes an amazing ‘nibbly’ snack, is a great topping and to die for with melted dark chocolate and figs as a healthy, tasty dessert. I also take it with me when traveling, both to nibble and if I know I need a breakfast I know before an event.

I stopped buying ready-made granola quite some time ago when I found it to be stuffed with sugar, preservatives and general ‘nasties’. Just follow this recipe to make your own, simple version. It’s super healthy, full of goodness, much cheaper and keeps for two weeks – what’s not to love?


  • 450g Organic Oats
  • 240 – 360g of any nuts (I love hazelnuts and almonds)
  • 150g of Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds
  • 60g Sesame Seeds
  • Good shake of Ground Flax
  • 2 tsp of Cinnamon (or more if you love it like I do)
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Chia Seeds


Throw all of the above into a large mixing bowl and add 125ml of water and 125ml of Canadian Maple Syrup. Mix together until it starts to form into little lumps. If not, just add a little more mixture. I also squeeze in a little Agave at this point for good luck.

Line a couple of trays with cooking paper and lay out the granola. Cook for 35 – 40m at 150 degrees, turning every 10 – 15 minutes to brown and dry it all over. Lay out on the side to cool when done.

When it’s nice and cool you can get creative! I throw in Organic Coconut, raisins and dates. But to be honest anything goes!

Just try not to nibble on it every time you walk past the jar 😉

A Healthy Olympic Snack


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It is going to be yet another momentous evening of cycling and swimming tonight, so I’m planning to get comfy with Mr. HealthyL and make an evening of it. As we all know, getting comfy on the sofa involves snacks! Now before you reach for the sweet popcorn, why not take an extra 10 minutes to make a super nutritious and tasty delicious snack?

I make these Kale Chips all the time, and never fear; men love them just as much as women! They take no time to make and are super healthy, for instance, kale contains zero fat is high in fibre, filled with anti-oxidants and vitamins A, C and K, is loaded with iron and is anti-inflammatory…need I go on? Get the oven on!



  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • Sprinkle of Bullion (optional – but I love the flavour it adds)
  1. Preheat an oven to about 160. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. With a knife or scissors (or your hands) carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and Bullion.
  3. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.

I am loving this blog that I stumbled upon on when reading Twitter this morning (I like to digest Twitter while having my smoothie and chia seeds) by the gorgeous GetRealGurls. It’s time to banish those food myths! Hoorah.

To put this into context. There was some natural peanut butter in our office last week, as one girl went to try some another gasped “that it was really high in fat” Oh dear I thought, it’s not Skippy! Far too often I hear people saying that they won’t eat nuts, avocado or eggs as they are ‘high in fat’ – and it’s simply not the case, as these ‘gurls’ are saying it’s GOOD fat people!

Pizza is a really interesting one. We make our own spelt pizza bases and top with homemade tomato sauce and organic vegetables. That equals one tasty, healthy pizza with no nasties. What’s stopping you? More to the point, I can’t imagine life without my 3 squares of 80% dark chocolate. It’s my healthy choccy heaven.

Thank you for such a great blog ladies!

GetRealGurls Nutrition

Although we’re not fans of classifying food as “good” or “bad” (there really is no morality when it comes to food), there’s no denying that some foodstuffs gets a not-so-great rap. But is it justified? Sometimes a food item really gets a worse rap than it deserves. Here are 5 foods that can be good for us:

1. Chocolate. Yes, it is true. Chocolate can be good for you. Now before you joyously scoff down that O’Henry, know that it’s the dark chocolate that gets the nod as the healthier kind. Try for 60-80% cocoa. And stick with 1oz per day (= the size of two 9-volt batteries).

2. Fat. Think canola and olive oil. Yes, some fat is good for you. We actually need some fat in our diet to absorb the fat soluble vitamins – A,D,E,K. The trick: not getting too much. Use it when cooking and make…

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Weekend Breakfast Special


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It’s Sunday morning and you’ve been eating porridge and granola all week long. You need a change and a little treat don’t you? Hell yes! And that’s just what I do at the weekend – but the healthy way. Just because something is tasty and sweet doesn’t mean it requires lots of nasty white (devil) sugar. Hoorah!

Here is the secret recipe for my favouritImagee Skinny Pancake. Originally adapted from the Bethenny Frankel Skinny Girl Pancake, my ‘adapted’ British version packs a little more punch, flavour and fun. Especially if you are using it as fuel for your Sunday workout. Any hey, if you’re not, these bad boys are only around 200 kcal’s – BONUS!



  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Egg Whites (my dog and cat get the yolks for coat shine and protein, or you can freeze them)
  • Glug of Vanilla Essence
  • Squeeze of Agave Syrup (or Canadian Maple Syrup if you don’t have any)
  • Sprinkle of Oats
  • Toppings: Now this is very personal, but I love flaked almonds, crushed hazelnuts, dried cherries and strawberries (with no nasties – beware), sprinkle of flax seed and some Canadian Maple syrup. Yum.


Place the egg, egg whites, vanilla essence and agave in a bowl and give them a good whisk together. Heat a non-stick frying pan with a spot of oil and some healthy soya butter. When it is nice and hot pour the egg mixture into the pan and sprinkle over the oats so that they set in the pancake. When the bubbles appear and it’s starting to brown on the underside, flip over an cook on the other side (2-3 mins)

Pop onto a plate, sprinkle with your favourite toppings and then a good glug of maple syrup. Enjoy!

Happy (sugar free) Sunday Morning to you all.

Mari x

Ironman: Why I Now Shower Beside a Wetsuit


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While on holiday in France last summer my husband decided to read ‘Can’t Swim, Can’t Ride, Can’t Run: My Triathlon Journey from Common Man to Ironman The story of a guy who decided to take himself off the sofa and become an Ironman in just one year, and that was it. David wanted to be an Ironman.

The last ten months have certainly been interesting.  Many an early morning has been spent carrying a bike and putting talcum powder into shoes. Our spare room is no longer an office, but the home of a turbo trainer, three bikes and copious amounts of shoes, helmets and skin-tight K Swiss clothing.  I frequently seem to shower with the company of a wetsuit and most conversations seem to end up back at Kona, Hawaii. 

David has always been extremely fit, so it was a matter of developing his swimming and cycling skills to that of his running. Needless to say it didn’t take long. As it turned out, he is naturally talented at ALL three of the disciplines anyway (err…not fair). He’s been honing his skills over the last few months with the fabulous people at Newhaven Triathlon Club in Edinburgh. An amazing bunch of male and female triathletes with a similar outlook on life.

Now, ten months later, David has successfully completed both the UK 70.3 Ironman (a half Ironman) in Exmoor and the main Ironman UK in Bolton last weekend. It was no mean feat. We’re talking a 2.4 mile open water swim at 6am, 112 miles on the bike and a marathon at the end. Ouch.  He did it though, and did it in style in just over 11 hours. Just after double Olympian World Champion Rebecca Romero. Cue emotional wife…

It’s pretty safe to say that life is a little different now. My running seems to have turned into swimming lessons and cycle classes, oh and did I mention that I seem to be doing Ironman 70.3 next year? My nutrition has gone to the next level and I’m feeling healthier than ever.  David is about to sign-up for Ironman Lanzarote next year also, so at least I’ll be getting some sunshine as an added bonus. A girls gotta’ have some VitD!

The next 10 months are going to be even more interesting than the last it would seem? Watch this space – or should I say blog?

My SUPER Porridge


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Someone once told me that breakfast is the time to wipe your diet slate clean and start again. Not only that, it’s time to kick-start your body for the day ahead, providing you with superpowers throughout the morning! For this reason breakfast is undoubtedly my favourite meal of the day, and by far the most important.

So if you’ve had a bad diet day the day before don’t panic, park it aside and start again with a bowl of my Super Porridge. Your body will love you for it. This recipe has been developed over a few years and now contains a variety of amazing ingredients that may otherwise be difficult to add into your diet throughout the day…



65 – 70g Porridge Oats (steel cut preferably as these are the least processed)

Dried Organic Fruit/fresh fruit (Make sure your dried fruit contains no nasties) I love Bear

Tablespoon of the following:

Chopped Nuts (almonds or hazelnuts)

Ground Flax Seed


Barley Grass Powder

Coconut Oil

Agave Syrup or Canadian Maple Syrup



Just pop the lot in a bowl, cover with boiling water and stir until soft. Squeeze your Agave or Maple Syrup over the top to taste. 

It may take a little effort in playing around with ingredients quantities to get the porridge just as you like it, but it’s worth persevering. You’ll feel great and be nice and full all morning!


What are the benefits of Super Porridge I hear you ask?

Have a good read through all of the ingredients links while you’re munching on your porridge! They boast a HUGE amount of health benefits and fabulous-ness (not to mention being super tasty). 

Happy Breakfast Everyone!