Feeling sásta Down By The Lake…

photo 1The alarm sounds at 0600 and I’m fresh out of my bed and off to make my porridge. It’s day one of my sásta bootcamp and I’m holding the tiniest paper sachet of oatmeal I’ve ever seen, but I’m determined to follow the rules. I’m here for a week and I want to see how my fitness levels improve and whether I lose weight when someone else is calling the shots. We’re training at 0800 and I need to have breakfast finished an hour before, to get the best value from all that carbohydrate.  Looking around the kitchen I can’t see a microwave so I drag out a saucepan, and turn on the electric hob. I am used to gas, and the dull grey rings look uninspiring. Bored already, I add some water to the pot and leave the porridge to get on with it while I head for the shower.  Twenty photo 11minutes later, I’m dressed for the gym and heading for the door – picking flakes of burned porridge from between my teeth as Continue reading

Secret #sástabootcamp

IMG_5655.JPGSo here I am, waking up in the ‘Courtyard Apartments’ in Carrick-on-Shannon, where I’ll spend the next week relaxing and sleeping during training sessions; and cooking healthy meals under the watchful eye of Declan from sásta fitness. I checked-into sásta last nightIMG_5653.JPG for a briefing, and learned the unpalatable news that my biological age is 64! Not great, when you’re a month away from celebrating your 49th birthday. Clearly I have some work to do.

I’m not a stranger to sásta so I have an idea of what lies ahead. I got a chance to try out the sásta training pod when I was presenting our fitness and lifestyle show ‘Get Off The Couch’ on Setanta TV last year. I really loved the workout and started nagging Continue reading

Sasta Siestas at the Sasta Bootcamp

Oops. 3lb UP after my foray into the world of pork scratchings & cider with big bro in London. Good job I’ve got my #SastaBootcamp next week when I’ll be testing Irish entrepreneur Fiona Egan’s latest brilliant idea for getting us all fit and healthy.

I’ll be tucked away for a whole week, with the Sasta training pods, body sculpting, cycling, pool sessions, ball work, jogging, dance, massage, reflexology, the Sasta low Gi diet and the ‘Sasta Siesta’.

It’s residential, with healthy meals provided, and no social media or TV after 8 – to encourage better sleep…. although that’s my own self-enforced ban, to help me focus.

I’m heading down on Sunday and I will let you know how I get on. I can promise you faithfully I will definitely #Lose1LbByFriday .




I DID Dance All Night…

flapperOn Wednesday, I blogged that I could dance all night.  That was when I danced back to my running club and gate-crashed a fartlek training session, which I began by hating and ended up loving.

Well last night I really DID dance all night.  I was dressed as a flapper, in sequins and pearls from head to toe in aid of Concern.  The weight of the outfit, and the hours of intense flapper is definitely going down in my training log.  I must have burned HUNDREDS of calories. 🙂

killarney trainingAfter getting to bed at 3am, I was groaning just hours later at 7am, when I woke with sore feet and aching muscles, and the memory that I had volunteered as a paddler for a ‘wild swimming’ event on Lough Dan in Roundwood, in Wicklow.   I made it there for the 9am start and after 4 hours of constant paddling and 5 trips up and down the lake (total paddling 11k). I drove up the road for lunch at Lynams in Laragh, before meeting up with hiking buddy Vera Baker, for some training for the Helly Hansen Killarney Adventure Race on October 5th.   We parked up, got the bikes out, and cycled 10k up and down the Wicklow Gap, before packing the bikes, and heading off on foot for a walk/jog up the steps at Spinc Mountain.


Click here for MyCharity page

It was a pretty intense day as training goes and I was tired afterwards, but that really good tired, rather than the bored and fed up at home tired that can be so mentally exhausting!  I’ll take it easy tomorrow though and let the body recover a bit.  I’ve planned to drop down to the Wild Water Kayak Club for a couple of hours, to keep the skills up on Sasta Sage – my SASTA FITNESS sponsored kayak, which I’m using to get in shape for the Liffey Descent in aid of LauraLynn Childrens Hospice, with ‘Mr Kayak’, Kipper Maguire.

You can check out our MyCharity page by clicking on the Sasta Kayak pic here – or try – and please pass on the word.  LauraLynn Hospice is such a vital, worthy cause and Kipper and I really want to raise a few bob for them this year.  So even a fiver would be a massive result.  Cheers.

Training Record:

Monday Aug 12th:  15k cycle in and out of work (total 30k) / 20 mins lunchtime running in Stephens’ Green / couple of lengths in the pool with dad :)

Tuesday Aug 13th: 15k cycle in and out of work (total 30k) / 45″ Gym session – S&C

Wednesday Aug 14th: 40″  running session (Fartlek) with Le Cheile AC

Thursday Aug 15th: 15k cycle in and out of work (total 30k)

Friday August 16th: 45″ Gym session  – 2hrs’ dancing

Saturday Aug 17th: 11k, 4-hour kayak / 10k cycle up and down the Wicklow Gap/ run up the steps at Spinc mountain in Glendalough.




Ninja Midges and a Whiskey Cascade…

Canoe Cootehall“Ninja Midges” – that’s what we dubbed them, as the dying throes of the soon-to-be infamous ‘Summer of 2013 Heatwave’ burned deep into the reddening Roscommon skyline.   As we gathered around the citronella flares that marked the heart of our Wild Water Kayak Club tent village, dodging dive-bombing beasties with fangs – I scratched lazily at the rising bumps on my legs and arms – and pondered that my weekend in Cootehall would be memorable to me for a host of reasons.

I’ve had two days of open canoe fun with old and new friends which has come as a timely kick-start to training for my next adventure – a Liffey Descent and Cycle challenge for LauraLynn Hospice (which you can read about by clicking HERE).  I’ve also randomly found myself back near Ballyfarnon, where my dad owned a pub when I was 8.  We moved around a lot when I was a kid and I’d nearly forgotten about living here – so a weekend of driving and paddling through this old familiar territory has stirred up a whole bunch of memories.  The surprises continued when I met with one of my LauraLynn challenge SASTA sponsorsLoughKey who lives down here – only to find she was also an old school-mate back in the day!

The club’s canoe weekend saw us out on the Shannon and paddling from Cootehall to Carrick-on-Shannon on Saturday, which was around 12k of water covered – more if you include the messin!  Sunday saw us move the boats to Lough Key Forest Park where we paddled the whole way out to the island with the castle on it, that I used to stare out at as a kid.  Then we paddled further again, to picnic on yet another island even further out in the lake.  I just love the way canoes open up the waterways to allow for a whole new range of adventures.  Someone had camped on the island, or had at least lit a massive bonfire and I stared in envy – wishing dad had brought me here when I was 8.   But maybe I’ll bring him, now he’s 88.

I tore myself away from Roscommon with a heavy heart and a whole heap of new questions about how life could have turned out if we’d stayed in the pub.  It was known as the Cosy Inn – in case you’ve ever raised a glass there.   It’s closed now I’m told.  All those laughing voices and clinking glasses faded into memory.

Concern Carrauntoohil 2Back in Dublin, Monday brought no muscle soreness, which is a good sign that I’m off to a flying start for my Liffey Descent training.   I need to get my cycling legs back now, build on my current fitness, and lose a stone in the next two months.  Then I’ll be ready.  No problem – Gulp!

These fun-filled, action-packed weekends can only help.  Exercising is so much better when you’re having fun with friends.  It’s my secret weapon for getting fit and keeping fit.   Last weekend I climbed Carrauntoohil for Concern to support climbing buddy Vera Baker who’s heading to Kenya with the charity this year.   We followed the hike on Saturday with an adventure on Sunday which saw us in Tomies Wood in the Gap of Dunloe – with legendary Irish adventurer Pat Falvey and Eamon Waldron from ‘Get Off The Couch’,  the adventure programme that I’m presenting on Setanta TV this September.

We spent about an hour hiking through some of the country’s oldest oak woodland, breathing in the earthy tones and feasting our eyes on the 40-shades of green mosses, herbs and ferns of this magical ‘Alice in Wonderland’ trek.  Thank’s to Pat’s excellent stage-management, we suddenly stumbled with gasps of delight into a shady glade that thundered with the sound of O’Sullivan’s Cascade – 1.5kilometres of waterfall Cascade Nymphstumbling through the woodland and down to the lakes of Killarney National Park.    We girls couldn’t resist taking a dip in one of the ice-cold plunge pools; feeling like wood-nymphs in a fairytale, or maybe the girls in a Tomotei advert.  It’s easy to let your imagination run away with you in a magical place like this…

Folklore tells us that O’Sullivan’s Cascade is where the chief of the Fianna, Fionn MacCumhal stashed his personal whiskey store, before a row with invaders saw the precious drop turn back to water.   Later, we turned the water back into wine, over a bowl of chowder at Kate Kearney’s Cottage.. 😉

Can’t wait for next week’s adventure.



  • Communicorp
  • Danone
  • Irish Farmers’ Journal
  • Dublin Airport Authority
  • WeightWatchers, Ireland
  • Limerick City & County Enterprise Board
  • ‘Foot In The Door’ Media Trainer for Independent Commercial Radio, Ireland
  • Clare County Enterprise Board
  • Carlow County Enterprise Board
  • Great Outdoors
  • Adrian Hendroff ‘From High Places’
  • Chernobyl Children International
  • Concern Ireland
  • The Hope Foundation
  • LauraLynn Childrens’ Hospice
  • Travel Department
  • Helly Hansen Killarney Adventure Race
  • 98FM Dublin
  • Newstalk
  • TodayFM Radio
  • Learning Waves Skillnet
  • BCFE, Ballyfermot
  • Pat Falvey, 'The Summit Book'