It's that time of the year when the sun comes out and we (with differing levels of trepidation or even joy) bare our flesh. For years it was all about being 'beach ready' and 'body beautiful'. Lately, there has been more talk and debate around what this really means and whether it is something we should even be trying to achieve. Well, Cucumber believes that feeling healthy is one of the keys to feeling happy, and with this in mind we had the wonderful Monika Bjorn, stellar yoga inspiration, author of two books, instagram star, mum and dog lover put together a little five minute stretch and tone video for us. Simple and quick enough to squeeze into your daily routine, this will put a smile on your face, a bounce in your step and amplify the feel good factor of summer. Click here to watch. Happy summer!
Ain't No Mountain High Enough
We like to put our clothes to the test to make sure they really do what we say. With this in mind we gave one of our brand new Cucumber coral t shirts to accompany the incredible Ciara Moore on her massive Three Peaks Challenge wearing Cucumber's 37.5 techonology. A bit about Ciara - she is the founder of #femaleleadersat50 and beyond, a leadership forum for just that: female leaders at 50 and beyond! Cucumber is so impressed - talk about challenging yourself and digging deep into your own personal take on wellness....Read on to find out what happened.
Cold as Ice, Cool as Cucumber, by Ciara Stokes
Cold as Ice, Cool as a Cucumber
“How am I doing?” I am breathing heavily but walking at a steady pace up the zig zags of Ben Nevis, the morning sun already hot on the mountain.
“You are doing well, keep this pace and you will do it within 5 hours”. Ice the mountain leader (yes really that was his name) replied, his steely blue eyes focused on the group ahead.
Today was the day, the three peaks 24 hour challenge. Every year for the last three years I have set myself three endurance challenges a year. This climb was my biggest to date, I had trained for months and I was that mix of excitement and nerves. My boots were good, my kit check under the mountain leader “ Smurf” (yes really) had passed and my clothing was absolutely perfect. My climbing trousers where light and I was also wearing a cool coral colour top from Cucumber Clothing engineered to help maintain the optimal core body temperature of 37.5°C by moving moisture out of clothing at the vapour stage, before liquid sweat begins to form and believe me it was already building up as we raced up Ben Nevis.
I was feeling strong, my walking poles helping me along. I had climbed Ben the year before, I knew the zig zags, and that they would be challenging. I needed to get up the steep steps quickly. As we climbed I heard Ice talk into his radio “We have a bit of a situation here my group is splitting in two”. Three of us were at a similar pace in our group and the rest had apparently moved up to the next group's speed. I didn’t really think of the impact this would have and ignored the call continuing on, my step, pole, step, pole rhythm keeping me focused.
I felt comfortable knowing the mountain, while it was hot I was cool. We climbed upwards passing the tourist climbers, their shouts of “good luck” as they acknowledged our Three Peaks Challenge arm bands we sported helping propel me forward. As we reached halfway I noted Ice had stopped a woman ahead of me as I tried to walk past them he stopped me. I noted she was crying.
Ice explained the group had split and the pace we were going at was causing issues as he couldn’t leave one of the “MLS” (mountain leaders) with 13 people. As per the earlier call our split group had caught up with the next one. He said it wouldn’t be fair for them to wait for us and we needed to turn back in case our pace slowed them down. He advised that many of the group were aiming for four hours and the majority of the group were “very fast”. He told us we would need to climb back down and “Oggy” (yes also his name) would be waiting for us. We were at the halfway point and under 90 minutes into the challenge . The situation was that mix of confusion, disbelief and disappointment.
As I climbed down the mountain in a state of bewilderment I am not sure what felt worse the “well done” call outs from the day climbers or seeing a chihuahua skipping lightly up the mountain past me.
Like a good sport I stood and applauded in the hot Sunday sunshine when they all completed their challenge 26 hours after we had started.
Devastated doesn’t cover half of how I felt.
However, I checked my health data over the 26 hours, I had in heat and cold climbed 350 floors, walked 30k, I had slept on a bus and then travelled home. My clothes in particular my top, were free and remained fresh when I got home 36 hours after putting it on.
So where do I go from here, I have never stood down from any challenge I have taken on, my ego was bruised and I had to taste failure not something that is familiar to me with a highly competitive nature. However time is a healer, it wasn’t my challenge. My next challenge is the 25k Thames Bridges Trek in September so if you are there watch out for me - I’ll be keeping cool in a Cucumber coral top, pacing my way through the London tourists to get to the finish as fast as I can in my time.
And maybe some day when my ego has recovered I may attempt to do the Three Peaks Challenge again so be ready Oggy, Smurf and above all ........ Ice.
Cucumber in the News!
The Daily Telegraph loves Cucumber!
Yay! Cucumber's brand new 37.5 technology tier dress was chosen as one of Lisa Armstrong's (Fashion Director, Daily Telegraph) three essential picks for a weekend getaway. Yup, we think so too.
Beyond Fabulous Quizzes Cucumber
Meet Jane Felstead, part of the cast of Made in Chelsea, Daily Mail online agony aunt and founder of Beyond Fabulous, the site she created for 'active, busy and ambitious women who just happen to be older'. We loved being featured in a Q & A session on the site. You can read it here.
Julia Edits loves Cucumber!It's all about beating the heat right now, and the always on point Julia Edits has chosen Cucumber's cream ruffle dress as one of their best pieces to stay cool while the temperature soars.
MHM chats with Cucumber
We loved chatting with Menopause Health Matters about all things Cucumber. You can read the full article here.
#50Sense loves Cucumber!
Here's #50Sense's tips on dresses to buy for the heatwave - we're thrilled that three of Cucumber's favourites have made the cut - read it here.
Heatwave? Time to boss the weather! We know we bang on about wild swimming, but if you have ever been tempted, now is the time to dip your toes in. There's a brand new outdoor swimming pond in Beckenheath and we can't wait to go. It opens at 7am a few days a week and that's when we're planning to go.
Showgirls, WASPS, war heroes, sexual awakening and clothes, clothes, clothes- all these and much more are strung together like pearls in the big, blowsy, fabulous City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (think Eat, Pray, Love). We follow nineteen year old Vivian Morris through her own private youthquake in 1940s New York and beyond. A complete gem and the perfect summertime read.
Wishing all our gorgeous Cucumber community happy, sun-kissed summers, don't forget to pack your Cucumber!