Rants and Raves #9

Spring is on its way. I can feel it. OK maybe not every day but it is definitely soon(ish…maybe…wishful thinking?) When I come back from the gym in the morning and walk Alfie (about 6.45am) it is LIGHT. It is also light on my commute home. This is progress!

So another week, and another line-up of my rants and raves. This week I really had some genuinely ranty moments. Poor Ben. But let’s start with a positive…

Rave: At work I like to have a mid-afternoon snack (between my lunch and my 4pm apple and banana, not that I’m a creature of habit or anything…). Usually it’s something from my graze box or a handful of pistachio nuts. I ran out of my graze box (I get it every other week) and I wanted something sweet but filling. I saw a pack of these in Tesco so bought them and I’m addicted!

Nakd cocoa crunch They’re basically very similar to the normal nakd bars but they have this added crunch and more protein (5.5g total for 30g and 106 calories) which as a snack is really important to me as I want to be kept full and not reaching for something more afterwards (not that this always works mind you).

Rant: I have the lovely Kelly from my running club to thank for spotting this really infuriating detail of my next 10k race (Eastleigh 10k) I’m doing. Can you spot it?

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The fact that the first 10 men will be award prizes but only the first SIX women. Er…what? I’m sorry but we’re missing four accomplished females here. It’s disgusting that there is still gender bias in races. Is the 7th/8th/9th/10th woman not as good as the equivalent placing man? What message does this give out to aspiring young female athletes? The argument of lack of money or that maybe more men enter the race than women does not work I’m afraid. Lower the number of prizes for men or raise the number for women. I could rant until I’m blue in the face about this one.

Rave: I did the worst possible thing: I let a strange man into my house when I was home alone. He asked all the right questions and spouted all the right things and I led him in – I’m that kinda girl ;-) No seriously, he was from Hello Fresh and his offer just sounded amazing and I was sold. I signed on the dotted line, gave my card details to him and boom I now have a subscription. I hang my head in shame…BUT I’m fully happy with my snap decision. Like I previously said, a proper post is on its way about what it is and what I think. Ben was somewhat surprised though getting in and seeing a strange man in the living room with me!

Rant: I saw a snapshot of The Sweaty Betty London Fashion Week catwalk advert on Facebook as I was scrolling through my time feed the other day and was shocked.

Sweaty Betty Catwalk

Is this representative of the target market buying these workout clothes? Where are their muscles? They barely look healthy. I’m not trying to thin-shame at all – I appreciate that slim people wear workout gear too and that you don’t need bulging muscles to shop at Sweaty Betty or to be healthy. BUT there were no athletic models at all here and just shows mixed messages about their company values. (For the full line-up check it out HERE).

Rave: I love films and I love the buzz around the award season, wondering who will win what. I also enjoy looking at all the beautiful stars dressed to the nines. However (and again we’re going to hit on gender inequality) I despise how most reporters will ask women “who are they wearing?” as one of their main questions. Not “how did you prepare for the role?” or “what was the hardest part of playing this character?” or something related to their actual ability as an actress, rather than the superficial quality of what they’re wearing. However, Reese Witherspoon refused to answer their questions about her dress but said “ask me about my role”.

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She was championing the #askhermore Twitter campaign which is fantastic! Nicely done, Reese. For a funny twist on this check THIS article about how male stars react when asked similar superficial questions on the red carpet.

Rave: I believe it was Maria’s blog where I first saw these amazing marshmallow creations from Marshmallow Deli. As a surprise pressie for Ben for Christmas I bought two different marshmallow flavours. Due to high demand over Christmas we didn’t actually receive them until mid-January, but it was worth the wait.

Marshmallow deli - caramel swirl

I got him Salted Caramel Swirl (right) and Peanut, Choc Chip Caramel (left). Ben really enjoyed them. I tried both and preferred the salted caramel because the peanut one tasted similar to Snickers chocolate bar and I hate Snickers!

Another rave: This little face.

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Just casually waiting at the top of the stairs. What would I do without him?

What are your rants and raves this week?

Do you get annoyed by gender inequality?

What snacks are you enjoying at the moment?

All the good stuff – food on holiday

Firstly apologies for truly dragging out my holiday recap posts. I still have another one to come focusing on the running and fitness side of the holiday – and my US parkrun recap!)

But OK let’s be real here, this is the good post, right? Holiday recaps are all well and good but I know for me personally I want to see what people ate. A huge part of the holiday is to enjoy the food, try new things and just eat stuff you wouldn’t eat at home normally. (To catch up, HERE’s my Orlando recap and HERE’s my Dallas recap). Apologies this is a long post!

Breakfast

If I’m honest, breakfast didn’t rock my world. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while then firstly thank you!, and secondly you’ll know I eat porridge for breakfast every single day and have done for the past 10 years. I still love it!

Also breakfast in America typically is a long way away from what I’d consider ‘normal’. Pancakes, waffles, French toast, crepes…they’re all pudding in my eyes. Sweet things so early don’t float my boat so I tend to stick with eggs.

Orlando Breakfast 2015

In Orlando I ate a lot of omelettes, turkey bacon, English muffins and fruit.  I’m a huge fan of turkey bacon – which in my eyes was far superior to the thin crispy regular bacon.

Breakfast in Dallas was similar but I also went back to porridge (oatmeal).

Dallas breakfasts 2015Don’t get me wrong though, sometimes we’d get a plate of pancakes for Ben and me to share so I could have a bit rather than a whole portion. Of special mention, the Corner Bakery Cafe in Dallas had gorgeous apple pancakes (left picture) and Yolk (middle picture) had a superb ‘ironman’ omelette full of veggie goodness which I added turkey bacon to.

For Ben, however, breakfast was his favourite meal. He was ALL over the sweet stuff, crepes being his favourite. Ben's holiday breakfast 2015 The Original Pancake House in Dallas were amazing. They contacted me via Twitter and tempted us in with a free Dutch oven pancake (bottom right picture). Easily won over! It was MASSIVE and very very sweet (Ben loved it).

Lunch

Lunch is always a tricky one on holiday. Especially when you’re hopping from rollercoaster to rollercoaster. In Orlando it was usually something snacky, like an INCREDIBLE bacon pretzel from Busch Gardens.26.01 lunch

Though one day I obviously had to visit the Whole Food’s salad bar because it is EPIC.

25.01 Wholefoods saladI can’t even tell you what’s in there. Everything pretty much

In Dallas again it was a light lunch (apart from the day we had cupcakes for lunch).

Dallas salad lunches The salad of the right was enormous (that plate is more of a serving plate): feta, chicken, nuts and cranberries

We tried out the Which Wich sandwich/salad shop which was really good. You took a paper bag and it had a long list of possible sandwich or salad ingredients and you just ticked which you wanted, gave it to the cashier, paid and then got your sandwich (or salad) back in the bag (or in a container for the salad).

Dinner

Dinner was by far my favourite meal. Jamie did great research because dinner was always amazing and never the same. We had Mexican, Greek, BBQ, Japanese, Italian and seafood. I mean seriously good meals.

For the Italian, we went to a very small restaurant called Giovanni’s which was about 20 minutes out from the International Drive area of Orlando. Not being a huge pizza or pasta fan I had a gyro meat and feta salad with pitta bread (this was me taking one for the team).

25.01 Giovanni's

It was very tasty. However the piece de resistance were Ben’s garlic knots.

25. 01 Giovanni's Garlic KnotsAt first I was like “nope, not my thing at all”. But then I tried one. Honest to god, they were out of this world, party in your mouth, life-changingly good. I’m looking at the photo now and my mouth is watering. They literally oozed with garlicky goodness. I know that sounds gross and I am not a grease fan at all but they literally melted. Kate even said that this would be her last meal on death row (hypothetically speaking). For $4 that is pretty damn good.

One of the best restaurants we went to was a Japanese restaurant called Benihana. You sat around a large grill (hot plate?) and the chef cooked your meal in front of you. It was almost like a show. The chef chopped veg so quickly, he danced eggs on his knife, threw stuff into his chef’s hat…it was brilliant.

Benihana Orlando And it tasted amazing as well. I had salmon with a mango chutney served with chicken fried rice and it was gorgeous.

Benihana Orlando (2) Definitely one to earmark!

*Next meals vegans/veggies probably won’t enjoy – scroll down to the other red text*

A meal that required a very light lunch was a trip to Texas de Brazil – an all-you-can-eat Brazil/Texas restaurant. It is heavily meat-based as the waiters bring round skewers of different meats and carve it onto your plate…this happens non-stop.

IMG_9498 At first I piled my plate high with different bits and bobs from the salad bar (of which was HUGE) and then I started trying the meat and realised I needed to save my stomach for the that and not the vegetables. Filet mignon (and wrapped in bacon version), ribs, lamb chops, parmesan-crusted pork loin, pretty much every cut of steak, chicken, sausages…just amazing. I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E (but fairly expensive – totally worth it though).

Obviously there was Pig Fest as well which literally rocked my world.

Pig Fest Food 2015 Ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork…heaven

And of course I had my usual turkey leg (this time from Universal not Disney) and it was amazing. All that Nando’s time has been good training.

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It was a lot less greasy than Disney’s and it was more smoked, which was just so good.

***OK for vegans/veggies to return!***

Other great meals were a delicious Greek feta salad, crab, a Mexican tortilla bowl salad, an incredibly HUGE salad from CowFish (great restaurant giving options of both sushi and burgers, yes I know I had a salad but I walked past a lady having one and it was massive and I was sold there and then – I couldn’t even finish it!).

Orlando Food Montage 2015Top  L-R: Crab from Joe’s Crab Shack, feta salad from Greek tavern, chicken salad from Cowfish, Chicken tortilla salad

Well, I can’t deny I am a salad muncher and love American salads as they’re always huge with lots of toppings. But it wasn’t always healthy food…

Froyo became an almost daily thing. Kate and Jamie fully got involved as well, originally not knowing much about it.

Froyo 2015We developed ways to get the best from those self-services – chosen sauce at the bottom, few sprinkles of ‘toppings’, then layer of froyo, then more sauce and more toppings, final layer of froyo and then more sauce and toppings. We nailed it.

We also went to Cold Stone Creamery a few times (introduced to us by Kate and Jamie), which was just incredible. Weirdly I had the best apple of my life there…

IMG_9329 Ben had some seriously good ice cream as well (they literally roll out the ice cream on a cold stone and mix in incredible things like an entire piece of brownie and stupid amounts of sauce and toppings). But I saw the rows of candy apples and I was sold. My apple was dipped in toffee, then icing and then rolled over a crushed Heath bar. ROCKED my world in a big way. They even sliced it for me. I had no problems finishing it.

Other tasty treats included a WEDGE of red velvet cake and churros at the cinema (Ben and me shared both these things and promptly fell into a sugar coma), frozen custard, a huge slice of cheesecake Ben and I shared one evening and the best ice cream of my life (top line).

Orlando treats 2015The ice cream was from a parlour called Sh-Booms & The Oldies. I had caramel pecan and peanut butter bomb. Just enough PB for me but it truly was the best thing ever. Better than Ben and Jerry’s! The place was very small but very cool (it looked like it was in the 1950s with the decor) and the manager was the nicest man in the world – really jokey and chatty and let us try so many flavours.

And finally, in Dallas one day we decided to have some cupcakes for lunch from a place called Trailer Cakes and they were FABULOUS.

IMG_9883 We had three mini cupcakes each

We definitely pigged out ate a lot more in Orlando than Dallas and this was mainly because we were with friends and these things happen. At the end of our time in Orlando we both felt bloated and a bit sick and tired of food so Dallas was a bit lighter on the big meals. I probably overdid the ribs in Orlando (having had them three times) so didn’t quite feel the urge to have them again ;-)

Apologies for such a long post!

What’s your favourite meal on holiday?

What are your favourite holiday treats?

Are you a meat lover or a carb lover on holiday? For me it’s all about meat as I find things like brisket, ribs and pulled pork a nightmare to cook.

A little bit of the good stuff

And there goes another weekend! I feel recharged and ready to do another week. I know recent research says you can’t catch up on sleep you’ve missed in the week by sleeping more at the weekend but it just feels so good to get those extra hours!

I really do try and stay up later at the weekend but by 9pm my body is fully shutting down into sleep mode. I’m not ashamed to say I do love a good early night! I got up at 7am on Saturday to get to parkrun for 8am to help set up the course. I really enjoy doing this as there’s a usual crew of people who I get on really well with and have a natter with. And parkrun itself is always good fun. Ben didn’t join this week as he’s being sensible with his leg. A good plan but I missed his company.

Netley Abbey has been getting quite popular (over 240 people this week) so it’s a bit crowded at the start. I wanted to push it so found a nice spot near the front so I wouldn’t get absorbed into the crush at the beginning. I was pleased to have taken about 30 seconds off of last week’s time so I feel I’m making progress (22:02 – cool time!). I’m not sure how much faster I’ll get on the current course though (two hills you do three times) as my 5k times will never be that speedy (for me) as I don’t really care to focus on short-distance speed. I just use them as a faster run.

After getting home, showered and breakfasted the usual Saturday chores ensued. Then after lunch we met up with our friend Nathan to go for a little walk around a lovely area called Forest Bere.

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I love going for walks at the weekend. I find it can be very easy to get stuck inside when the weather isn’t that warm and just watch TV or mope about. It was lovely and fresh. We walked 2.5 miles but had to get back relatively soon as the car park closed at 4.30pm which was a bit annoying. Obviously we took Alfie too.

IMG_0011I how the photo captures Ben mid-stride

We treated ourselves to an Indian take away that evening, which I was really looking forward to, but it was really disappointing. It tasted really nice but the portion sizes were really small. My tandorri chicken starter was pretty much just a drumstick and everything else just kind of looked a bit stingy, you know? And one onion salad when we ordered two (I love me some onion salad). Bit of a let down for a Saturday treat!

Sunday morning I went for my long run. I suppose you could say that my ‘long’ runs at the moment aren’t really that long (especially comparing them to you lot training for impending marathons!) but I’m tying to build things up gradually as I have a while yet until my marathon. While it’s great to have so much time, I’m also terrified it’s too much time to play with and that I’ll injure myself somewhere along the line!

Injury paranoia aside, I got a good seven mile run in (average pace 8:11min/mile).

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At first I felt sluggish but then I got really into it and found it really hard to make myself go slower (like I said I would) but I just found myself feeling strong, not out of breath or feeling like it was an effort. My justification is that when I start getting to 10 miles and over then I’ll force myself to take it easier and use it for time on my feet. When I’m around distances that used to be very comfortable for me as a normal run I’m happy to be a bit quicker (let’s remember these fatal words  if weeks from now I’m injured…).

The rest of Sunday was fairly miserable with just continuous rain (of which I missed on my run thankfully). This meant a rather unpleasant walk with Alfie.

IMG_0013 That face: “Why are we out here??”

I had my wellies on and umbrella and at first Alfie was happy to smell bushes and do his thing, but then he would walk as close to me as possible to get sheltered from the rain. I felt mean being out in the rain with him but he had to go!

I will do a proper post on this but I just have to mention how much I’m absolutely loving this recipe box delivery service called Hello Fresh (I’ve not been contacted to do a review by them, I’m just a very happy paying customer – though I do have a discount code if anyone’s interested!). They deliver a box to your house with three recipes (though you can do five) with all the ingredients you need to make the meals. It’s amazing.IMG_0014

Sunday night’s dinner was sizzling sesame beef. The recipes are very easy to follow and taste SO good. Yes there’s prep and cooking involved, but I love it and I’m learning so much about ‘proper’ cooking. The meals are nutritionally balanced which is a bonus as well. And most importantly, Ben likes it too!

And that’s a wrap. OK not a hugely exciting weekend but it ticked the necessary boxes required ;-) Except cake. There was a distinct lack of cake.

How was your weekend?

Do you like to get outside during the colder months? Or do you snuggle indoors and hibernate?

Have you ever tried Hello Fresh or something similar?

Running and my new Mizuno trainers

I like to think of Thursday as Friday eve, is that weird? To be honest, I don’t mind my working week. I enjoy my week, work and all (though sometimes my commute can push me beyond insanity – podcasts and audiobooks definitely help!). Though obviously weekends rock.

I thought I’d do a post of where my running’s at and also review a pair of Mizuno trainers that I was kindly sent by Millet Sports.

IMG_9997 I actually had no idea Millets sold trainers – or anything running-specific. I thought Millets was purely a camping/back-packing company. I was chuffed they have a sub-section for other sports too (such as running, triathlons, racket sports, hockey and football).

I was allowed to select any pair of Mizuno running trainers so I went for what I know suits me best in terms of my gait (like many runners, I over-pronate): the Mizuno Wave Paradox. I’ve had a similar pair before and I ran the Paris marathon in them.

Mizuno Wave Paradox

They’re a supportive trainer and have a high level of stability. From the website: “The Dynamotion Fit uses biomechanic and motion picture technology to design a blueprint and develop a shoe that works with your foot through the gait cycle. Smooth Ride engineering minimises the rapid rates of acceleration and deceleration of the foot during transition, creating as smooth a ride as possible.” [Source]

And as you can see it has more support on the inside of the shoe to help balance the rolling of your foot if you pronate inwards.

IMG_9981 Still wearing my shorts!

I like Mizuno and found their trainers comfortable, well fitting and supportive. And I love the colour!

Yes I have been injured a lot and though it’s easy to blame it purely on whatever trainers I was wearing at the time, personally for me, it’s more likely to have stemmed from bad training mistakes (too fast, too much, too soon) and lack of adequate strength training to support my training. Running a lot on those weaknesses exploits them and then boom you’re injured. I started out in Mizunos when I first started running and it was only when I got too into heavy training that I fell into injury. So I’m not a big proponent of trainers causing injuries as an argument.

That being said, you do need to choose a trainer that suits your running gait and the terrain you’re on. I’ve always stuck with stability trainers and think that’s best for me as I have ridiculously flat feet. And let’s not get into the argument of over-cushioned trainers and barefoot running please…

Anyway, thumbs up for Millet Sports. They have a great range of trainers and other sport apparel and accessories. Another website for me to spend ridiculous amounts of time and money on – wahay!

How’s my running going then? Well I’m sad I couldn’t be involved in Jantastic this year (again) but it’s for the best. I’ve been running three times a week and keeping the mileage low and the pace at whatever I’m feeling – whether that’s 7.30 min/miles or 8.30 min/miles. Going forward my long runs will be more to the 8.30min/mile ranges and parkrun will probably be where I attempt any form of speed. I’m so relaxed about it it’s wonderful. My runs feel good – everything is working as it should, so far no issues and I feel like I’m running strong. I am back to loving running!

IMG_9968 Box jumps are a killer

I also go to the gym three or four times a week as well. There I do an hour’s worth of full-body strength training and focused running-specific strength work, like single leg squats. I genuinely feel stronger and really enjoy these workouts, despite having to get up at 5am to do them!

Having the gym really helps because it takes the pressure off my running. I get a good sweat on and my heart rate is up and muscles that have been asleep for a while are now back in business. It’s obviously no shocker that I love to exercise, so fuelling this love in a different way has made running become a joy rather than my only form of ‘proper’ exercise.

Future goals? I deferred the London marathon as my training is just not good enough and I want my next marathon to actually have proper marathon training for once! I have Eastleigh 10K in March and Southampton half marathon in April so I feel good about those. I’ve also signed up to another marathon in June (the Liverpool Rock and Roll marathon). It’s about 17 weeks away and I feel like I can continue running nice and easy now, and then gradually creep the mileage up later and be sensible about my training.

But let’s be real here, this is me and injury is one of those things I think will happen regardless. I will continue with the gym though, continue being sensible with my training and pray I dodge the bullet. I also think my standing desk is a big help as well – I’m still going strong!

So that’s me currently. Loving the gym and loving running. How long may this last?? ;-)

What trainers did you first start running in?

What brand are you most loyal to in running?

What is your running gait like?

 

***Full Disclosure: I was sent the Mizuno trainers for free to review. All opinions are my own as always.***

Dallas Holiday Recap

I started my holiday (‘vacation’) recap with Orlando (find it HERE), the second half (or at least the last five days) we spent in Dallas. OK so Dallas was a very random choice, we are aware don’t worry.

We didn’t want to spend the entire holiday in Orlando (far too intense and crazy) and wanted to see another part of America. The flights from Orlando were fairly limited. We did ‘um’ and ‘ar’ about going to New York again (good job we didn’t – those flights got cancelled!) or going to LA. But LA meant a five hour plane journey, giving us a whopping flight time back to the UK at the end and an even worse time difference.

We enjoy having our own little adventures; walking, exploring, shopping and just generally chilling and Dallas fitted that criteria. Yeeehaaa! (OK I promise that will be the only ‘yeeehaaa’ I do).

Our hotel (Hotel Indigo) was lovely but very different from the Orlando resort. Far smaller as it was a city hotel, but it was very comfortable, had a gym and was ideally located. The bed…omg was so comfy too.

For our first day we’d planned to do lots of walking from our hotel to explore the area. I’d done a lot of research on good restaurants nearby and things to do so we were set. We stepped outside and good lord it was cold. We knew it wouldn’t be warm so we had packed accordingly but this was an unseasonably cold day for Dallas and our light jackets weren’t cutting it. After walking around for a bit it quickly became apparent we needed to be indoors.

In the end we got in the car and did some exploring that way and decided to spend the morning doing some serious shopping. We went to the Dallas Galleria shopping centre and it was brilliant. The first thing I bought was a warm long winter coat from Hollister in the sale – half price!

IMG_9841The best photo I could find of me wearing the new coat 

Being warm is an essential Anna requirement so this instantly made me happy. As did shops with whole work out clothing sections!

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Old Navy shop

You don’t really get this in the UK (that I’m aware). You just get sport focused shops instead. I had a field day I can tell you! Ben…not so much ;-)

After shopping to our heart’s content we grabbed some lunch and then headed to the Dallas Aquarium.

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Now normally this is not something I’d be a huge fan of doing at home. Sounds a bit dull to me…However we really enjoyed it!

Dallas Aquarium 2015 There weren’t just fish, but monkeys, alligators, penguins, birds, insects and a leopard. The leopard was quite scary as it was stalking up and down its enclosure staring at a young child. The young child walked around the enclosure and the leopard followed it, menacingly. It looked like it was hunting the child!

IMG_9741 Leopard selfie

Unfortunately the next day I woke up at 4am in the morning feeling incredibly sick. I had planned to go to the gym that morning but I wisely decided not to. I didn’t feel any better later and so Ben and I stayed in bed until 10am. Ben loved this as normally we never lie in, especially on holiday.

We ventured out for breakfast but I couldn’t eat anything but porridge. We’d planned a long walk in a beautiful scenic park outside the city but after 10 minutes of walking I told Ben I needed to go back to the hotel as I felt so ill. I wasn’t actually sick or anything thankfully though. On getting back I literally fell asleep straight away while Ben watched some TV. I felt so sorry for him, what a rubbish day! When it got to about 4pm and it was clear I wasn’t feeling better, Ben went to a local sports bar to enjoy some ‘man time’ with a few beers and sustenance. He said he really enjoyed it as he had wifi, sports on TV, beer and was just chilling (though obviously missing me and feeling worried…).

The next day I woke up and literally felt like another person. The sickness had fully gone. I was so relieved. The weather was beautiful as well – like a spring day in Britain. We decided to walk around Dallas that morning and see some sights.

IMG_9735I’d describe Dallas like a very small New York. It’s very cosmopolitan and has huge high rise buildings. But it’s a lot smaller and the accents are crazy. The funny thing is, people didn’t seem to understand us either. They also seemed genuinely shocked we were from the UK.

We saw the JFK memorial monument, the Texas School Book Depository (where Lee Harvey Oswald apparently shot the president – I say apparently as I know there are a lot of conspiracy theories out there!)Dallas sights 2015 Though JFK’s assassination isn’t an integral part of our British history, it’s still something we were interested in. I know how much he was loved as a president and how shocking his death was.

In the afternoon we went for a lovely run together in the park that we’d attempted to walk round before I got sick. IMG_9823

Post run selfie – looking fairly done in!

For once we actually ran together as well and it was a nice romantic way to spend the afternoon – sweating, panting and grimacing ;-)

We did some other random bits and bobs in Dallas, like going to a butterfly house (they did this in the movie Boyhood that I saw on the plane and I was very pleased we could do it in Dallas!).Dallas Butterfly House It was very cool seeing all these butterflies flying around the place and, with butterfly chart, we tried to work out which were which (yes we’re geeks).

We also saw some more beautiful and interesting sights and went on lots of lovely walks. Ben and me are big fans of walking on holiday (especially if we have Vivofits… ;-)).

Dallas sights (2)

The cattle sculptures were amazing – it was literally a herd of life-size cattle running down a hill

I think it’s safe to assume we had a quieter and more chilled time (albeit with lots of walking) in Dallas. It complimented well with the craziness of Orlando! It was definitely a cultural change as well. It felt very small-town America but in a city, which I know sounds odd. We definitely got our fill of cowboy-ness as well!

Fort Worth 2015 We visited Forth Worth and the Fort Worth Stockyards (which is basically just cowboy central!). It was so much fun. I’m not sure I’d want to live in Texas though – it seemed very ‘out there’. I’m sure this is just my tourist superficial impression though.

And as a final note…we dropped by to both Hooters and Twin Peaks (Ben explains Hooters as a good spot for “butt men” and Twin Peaks for “boob men” – a fair assessment). We just don’t have this in the UK! As you can imagine Ben loved it but he was too embarrassed to get a selfie with a waitress haha.

IMG_9889Enjoy the scenery”

And dinner there rocked my world. It’s something I’d never normally eat – just a load of fried goodness and dips (chicken, mozzarella, pickles…).

IMG_9888 You can’t beat a good load of dirty fried food sometimes

Well, if you can’t splurge on holiday when can you!

Have you ever been to Texas?

Have you ever been ill on holiday?

Do you enjoy visiting aquariums or zoos?