Let there be cake… #WIAW

Hello, you fabulous people.

The weekend gone was amazing. My mother-in-law, who I get on so well with, had the brilliant idea of hosting an afternoon tea party at her house on Saturday. Obviously this is the best idea in the entire world to me. So I thought I’d get involved with What I ate Wednesday!

 Check out Jenn’s blog for more details

But before I get to the good stuff…I had a really good workout in the morning. Obviously I would have much prefered to be out Pakrunning (do I say this every week? I think I do) but this was a second best. I went to spin and endured that torture for 45minutes before then going and doing my own strength routine afterwards. I like Saturdays at the gym because I don’t have to rush off straight after the class or worry about time like I do in the week. Though Saturdays are heaving with people furiously running on the treadmills (don’t they know about Parkruns??), using machines or doing personal trainer group sessions.

I did a similar routine to my Winter Workout but I missed off the single leg squats and added instead:

  • Russian twists with 8kg kettle bells
  • Planks
  • Lateral pull-downs
  • Kettle bell single arm presses
  • One arm rows

Ahh I fear that the days of my 5 minute planks are gone…I didn’t attempt a lengthy one, I tried to vary it up by moving each leg out and in while maintaining the same core position. And that was tough. Use or lose it!

In the end I was at the gym for two hours. Seriously. I am that sad. But it felt good to take my time and get what I needed to done. I didn’t want to go to the gym Sunday so it was then or never.

Back to cake.

My MIL had done herself proud 🙂

Let there be cake

There were sandwiches (ham, prawn, coronation chicken, cucumber and salmon with crème cheese), home-made Victoria sponge, home-made lemon drizzle, éclairs, little biscuits, scones (with raisins & plain)…a feast!

MIL Afternoon tea

Well, I pretty much had everything. Obviously.

A few sandwiches (I see it as a necessary ‘lining of the stomach).

Afternoon tea sandwiches

The coronation chicken was my favourite. I went back for a few more of those!

Then a lovely slice of Victoria Sponge. Positively scrumptious.

Victoria sponge

A cheeky slice of lemon drizzle.

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And obviously a raisin scone with jam and clotted cream (no photo. I can only assume I was too concerned with stuffing my face and floating in cake heaven).

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Mmm. Though I must say I was quite stuffed. This was Ben and my late lunch…and dinner as it turned out. We were so full! (How does that surprise me? Three cakes and a platter of sandwiches??)

Sunday was just a blissful day of nothing. I took Alfie on three lovely long walks though as I did get a bit cabin fevery. Sometimes I just have to be outside…I listened to Marathon Talk on two of the walks and walked with Ben on the other one. We were spying on some potential houses that we would love to buy…Fingers crossed maybe to moving out this year!

What would be on  your menu for afternoon tea? I’m not a fan of éclairs at all but my dad loves them. Victoria sponge is always a winner for me. And cucumber sandwiches.

Does it annoy you when the gym is busy? Thankfully our gym is quite big so there’s never a queue for machines or weights.

Have you been Parkrunning lately? I have such withdrawal symptoms!! 

A spot of afternoon tea

Hello! It’s Wednesday – half way there! Not that I’m living for the weekend or anything… Winking smile

This week I’m joining the blogging link-up What I Ate Wednesday and share the delightful treats and meals I’ve been loving lately. Pop over to Jenn’s blog to see what’s going down Smile

 

So here’s a recap of Saturday’s eats as they were pretty damn good. As I mentioned in my last post, I didn’t run Parkrun on Saturday. This was really hard and sad for me. Without sounding overly dramatic, it sucked. Ben went but I went to spin instead. I could have volunteered but I wanted to get the endorphins going and to be honest I was in a bad mood.

And let me tell you, spin was hard core. The usual person was sick apparently so we had a stand-by person do it. I assumed it would be a cop-out session. Ha. Usually we have little breaks between songs but not this time. It was just non-stop. And then the instructor goes “right, time for a 5 minute sprint”. Seriously?! It was 30 seconds of sprints, with about 10 seconds recovery, over 5 minutes. I was a sweaty mess.

After this I had my usual breakfast:

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Same old same old. Porridge (oatmeal), almond milk and chia seeds.

Then after getting ready and usual house stuff, Ben and me headed to my parent’s where I dropped Ben off for some ‘man-time’ with my dad to watch the football and play Xbox. I picked my mum up and we headed off for a lovely spot of afternoon tea for lunch.

Besides from getting immensely stressed out trying to find a car park in the world’s smallest village square and ending up giving up and parking in a ditch, we arrived at Lilly’s Tearoom in Wickham in one piece (not always guaranteed when I drive).

We ordered soup to start because we weren’t sure afternoon tea would be an adequate lunch (rookie error right there).

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Delicious pea and ham soup

I loved how beautiful all the crockery was. In fact, the whole tearoom was beautifully decorated and the service was fabulous.

Tea at Lillys

Obviously we had tea Smile

And then our ‘main’…

Afternoon tea

Heaven! We had the choice of so many different cakes (carrot, chocolate, lemon drizzle, coffee and walnut, rocky road, millionaire shortbread or Victoria sponge). Well, my mum and me both adore Victoria sponge so we both went for a slice of that. It also came with crustless chicken sandwiches and crustless cucumber sandwiches (but of course!) and scones with clotted cream and jam.

Yeah so we clearly did not need that soup!! We were both quite full by the end, only leaving a couple of the sandwiches (choose your battles I say – cakes all the way). It was perfect.

And then we looked round the little square at all the lovely little shops. And lo and behold I found the most amazing chocolate shop.

Chocolate shop Wickham

Because after so much cake, surely this makes sense??

So many beautiful and tasty looking chocolates! Well, I pushed the boat out and went crazy. I bought Ben and me a box to share.

Box of chocolates

I forgot to take a photo of inside, but I will share soon as it’s pretty impressive

The shopkeeper thought it was hilarious that I was buying this for just Ben and me to eat ourselves. How terribly indulgent, I know Winking smile

Well, dinner wasn’t needed for quite a long time afterwards! Luckily Ben had had a pub lunch so we were both happy to have a nice late dinner.

Roast sausages and veg

I kept it simple and had roasted vegetables and sausages. I threw in a chopped cooking apple as well (because I don’t eat enough apples – it’s something I’m trying to work on Winking smile). I threw some herbs on it (rosemary and thyme) and then drizzled it with some oil and balsamic vinegar. LOVED this. Definitely happening again. And so easy – everything just went in a casserole dish and then in the oven for 20ish minutes.

And that’s that!

Last night I went for an easy 8 mile run and it felt pretty good. No pain, no major discomfort. Just a bit of aching but I was more concerned with the raging thunderstorm going around me! But more on that another day.

Have you ever had afternoon tea? I think it’s pretty much the best thing in the world. OK I’m easily swayed by anything cake-related.

What treats do you like to buy? A box of chocolates is fairly extravagant for us, but I just couldn’t help myself. Usually it’s Cadbury’s chocolate or Lindt!

What’s your favourite filling in a sandwich? I am a bit turkey or chicken fan, with loads of salad. And cranberry sauce.

Everything but the kitchen sink

How s-l-o-w-l-y things seem to drag when you’re soon to be going on holiday. Every day seems to crawl by…I know I shouldn’t complain though. I’m very grateful to soon be on a beach in Mexico applying another layer of suntan lotion…

It couldn’t have come at a better time as well. I feel a bit frazzled. And I know Ben is as well with all his travelling and hard working he’s been doing lately. So bring on the cocktails!

But first I have the small tiny little Bristol half marathon to get through first…I’m strangely looking forward to it. It should be great to do such a big race in terms of numbers of people. Cheddar Gorge half was under 200, whereas this one is around 20,000! Even Reading was only around 15,000 I think. So a lot of people!

What’s crazy as well is that when we get back from our holiday the ‘big’ training begins. Marathon Training. Those words just look scary to me. Marathon? Whoa. It’ll be less than two and a half moths until the big date when we get back from Mexico. I already have two races planned to help the training along:

End of October: Great South Run (10 mile road race – very popular, should be brilliant)

Mid-November: A nice and local half marathon (Gosport Half)

December 22nd: Marathon

Annoyingly enough our work Christmas party is the night before. My work always do a really good Christmas do. Last year’s was in Bruges for the weekend. This year it’s at a beautiful stately home in Winchester. Unfortunately Ben and me will opt out as it just wouldn’t be a good idea. Not with a 9.30am start the next day. I’m not too sad… *sobs*

Anyway, like I said I’m feeling a bit frazzled with work. Definitely in need of a holiday. I’ve been using my workouts as a bit of a escape. Seriously, I can’t think of anything important during those tough spin classes. My mind is purely “this hurts” or “I’m tired” or “when’s it over”. And running is like a cool breeze flowing through my mind. It just wipes all that stress away. For the half marathon I plan on just putting on some music and enjoying the scenery. I do enough introspection and worrying in my daily life to allow myself to get bogged down by unnecessary thoughts for 13.1 miles.

I haven’t really posted much about food lately. Mainly because it’s all been a bit samey and not interesting at all.

However, as it’s Wednesday (WIAW: go check out Jenn’s blog!) I did stumble across a quick meal that I just can’t get enough of at the moment. It was after I’d gotten in from spin and my body was like FEED ME. We had a lot of vegetables in the fridge that needed to be used and I just thought “what the hell”. So it was pretty much a meal with everything but the kitchen sink.

Kitchen sink meal

This delightful mess is a three egg scramble with lots of stir fry veg, mushrooms, sun dried tomato and diced trout. With a side salad of course – because you can never have too much veg, am I right? Winking smile

What made this was the trout and the sundried tomatoes. The tomatoes were in oil so this helped increase the flavour as well. I loved this. And good healthy omega oil from the fish as well!

Another meal that I’ve been enjoying is gammon steak.

Gammon

I grilled the steak and had this with cauliflower mash with goat’s cheese mixed in (heaven) and broad beans…and maybe a sneaky bit of beetroot (it needed eating). Oh how I miss eating gammon! I’m on such a meat kick at the moment.

And at work it seems everyone can’t stop bringing in cakes. Not that I’m complaining!

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Hello oat and raisin cookie. How I love thee.

Sadly our cake stash in our freezer is quickly going down. This is not good. My mum came over the other day for a catch-up…and we had the last slices of Victoria sponge. I almost cried. Winking smile Well, that just means getting/baking more I guess!

As my last point, I’ve just started reading Gone Girl after it seemed the blogging world exploding with how amazing it is a while ago (I’m so behind the trend). I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. I’m 17% through (God bless the Kindle) and I’m not massively keen. DON’T HURT ME. It’s just that it reads a bit like a comedy romcom style book but so clearly is not. I don’t know how to take it if I’m honest. It just seems a bit odd. I shall persevere though.

Have a great week guys!

When’s and where is your next holiday?

What’s your latest favourite meal?

Do you use exercise to switch off or switch on? Sometimes a long run is quite cathartic to think about different things, but usually I just like to stop thinking and shut off from the world for a bit.

What are you reading at the moment ? Have you read Gone Girl? Thoughts?


Tasty dirty food

Hey guys, how’s everyone doing? You can really tell the summer is coming to a close and schools have begun again. Hello annoyingly long commute.

Anyway, I wanted to rant talk about this business of ‘clean eating’ today in line with WIAW (check out Jenn’s blog).

I read a great article the other day that really made me think. Honestly, go and read it.

It made me wonder. What is ‘clean eating’? You read so often in so many blogs, magazines, adverts etc. that clean eating is the done thing. The healthy thing. The right way forward.

No processed food. Lots of vegetables. No refined sugar. No white bread. No caffeine. Something like that, right?

Clean eating

The article basically argues that clean eating doesn’t exist. It raises some very interesting points, such as for every diet/way of eating (e.g. vegetarian, vegan, paleo, low carb, etc.) there is always a type of food or selection of different foods that are deemed unhealthy or toxic (unless you’re a veggie for animal welfare reasons I guess**). Basically, all food can be seen as unhealthy from one perspective or another.

So, by rights, this meal could be described as ‘not healthy’.Stir fry meal

Stir fry with river cobbler fish thrown in, tons of veg, courgette noodles (or coodles as we fondly call them in our house) and a large dollop of cream cheese to create a lovely creamy sauce. [With a corn on the cob because they’re so damn juicy right now.]

Yep. Processed Philadelphia low-fat cream cheese. Not the full fat version…probably produced in a factory god knows where adding god knows what making it taste like pure heaven.

I have also been eating loads of turkey and pork sausages.

Turkey sausages and mash

And they don’t always contain stellar ingredients. Check out the ingredients list on your sausages (pork, chicken or turkey). Doesn’t look great doesn’t it? Do I even know what half of those things are??

But they taste pretty good. I mean, they taste like sausages. If you want to remove all that other stuff out then just buy a damn pork chop or turkey breast. But let’s be honest, you’re not eating sausages for breakfast, lunch and dinner are you? Every day? Then seriously: stop worrying.

I am a strong believer that no food is bad for you. No food is going to cause you nutritional harm. Obviously if not eaten in excess. Let’s be very clear here: any food eaten in excess will cause you issues. Yep, that includes my beloved apples.

Apples

Now, you know I like my cake. I eat cake every week. I even ate this bad boy then my husband made and he didn’t even make his own icing.

Jam sponge and icing

He used SHOP-BOUGHT icing. Icing from a tub. OK it didn’t taste as good as normal icing but it was pretty good. He went for the quick and easy. Quick and dirty.

My point is I’m tired of hearing about clean eating all the time. I understand that for some people that’s their life and that’s their prerogative. I don’t mean to offend anyone so I’m sorry if this is how it’s come across! But it really annoys me the tone that some of these blogs or articles etc. can come across. The ‘holier than thou’ tone. I agree that eating a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables and whole foods is a great approach, but it’s not the only approach and it’s not mutually exclusive with eating foods that, let’s be perfectly honest here, taste amazing but have been in some way been processed.

Those tasty dirty foods. Ice cream. Chocolate. Cake. Sweets. BBQ sauce. Steak. White bread!! Stuff that we can turn to when life just sucks a little bit or we just fancy eating.

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Let’s not feel bad about not eating clean! Let’s enjoy the balance of life. Don’t banish those cupcakes (*cough* cupcakes with ACTUAL sugar in them and actual WHITE flour). Enjoy your food, whatever it is your eating.

Vanilla cupcake

*Jumps off her soap box* Have a great Wednesday!

 

**I know that some people can’t eat some types of food for medical reasons as well. My aim is not to offend anyone!

Clean eating: what’s your opinion?

Do you avoid any foods? Why?

What’s your tasty dirty food preference?

Enjoying my food

You know my feelings about cake. It’s my weakness. It’s my kryptonite. My heart’s desire and my biggest nemesis.

This bad boy was brought in to work yesterday (a present from a wife for her husband’s birthday):

Sonic Cake

Sonic the Hedgehog never looked more appealing. The guy is a software developer…so it kinda makes sense. Best wife ever? Seriously, husband, take note.

But I’ll come back to that cake shortly. First off let’s get started with WIAW and the boring other food I ate.

Thanks, Jenn!

I find some days are good days and some days are bad days when it comes to food. I use the word ‘bad’ lightly here because I’m a true believer that no food (or drink) is inherently bad. Oh sure, living on chicken nuggets and milkshake every day isn’t going to do your body any favours and will make you feel pretty rubbish eventually. But once in a while it can’t hurt! Newspapers love to scare us into submission, like pushing the idea that one sniff of a sausage will cause an immediate cancer epidemic. Whatever sells the papers…But in reality, I truly believe no food when eaten in moderation can cause our body’s irreversible damage.

That being sad, I like eating healthy, fresh food. Lots of vegetables, lots of fruit, meat, slow-releasing carbs…for me it’s not something I have to consciously work on because it’s second-nature to me.

Smoked mackerel salad

This was dinner the other evening: smoked mackerel on a bed of lots of veggies, salad, slices of nectarine and sundried tomatoes

That’s not to say I’m the golden girl of nutrition. Far from it. I love me some sugar. Chocolate, sweets, ice cream… and of course cake.

Sonid Hedgehog cake

My best intentions to try and have a day where I eat really well (i.e. avoid the copious amounts of biscuits and cookies at work and don’t consume too much chocolate in the evening) fell very short yesterday. I mean how could they not when you see such a beauty!

Delicious cake

I ate a caramel flavoured slice from the top tier and a chocolate fudge slice from the bottom tier. And promptly felt quite sick.

Afterwards I needed to lie down in the foetal position for a while to recover.

But these things happen. Life happens. I’m not going to turn down an offering of a slice of Sonic the Hedgehog cake! I’d regret not trying it more than feeling a bit sick and a bit guilty after.

Cake ecard

Like I said, cake is my nemesis…and it was damn good.

I’d also like to point out I wasn’t the only one who had two slices. There was a minority that I was joyfully part of… Winking smile

Back to ‘proper’ food (i..e not just based entirely on sugar and food colouring haha)…one of my new favourite meals that I could literally eat every single day is this:

Turkey sausages and mash

Three turkey sausages, broad beans (or other vegetable, I’m not fussy) and cauliflower mash with goat’s cheese. Hold the boat. This was delicious. I’ve had turkey sausages in the freezer for a while now but was inspired to do this meal by the lovely Laura.

The trick to this is to add a good amount of goat’s cheese to the cauliflower to really get the flavour zinging. Yes I said zinging.

Other than these meals, I’ve still been eating my usual stuff; loving the stir-fries and salads!

So basically my motto is, eat healthily but enjoy the good stuff too. Usually I try and ‘be good’ in the week so that I can relax at the weekend with a nice slice of cake in the evening, or a meal out with all the trimmings. But as you can see, this doesn’t always work out that way! But I won’t beat myself up about it because life is too short.

I will say though that I don’t think two slices of cake helped with running club in the evening. I felt very sluggish and a bit sick!! Ho hum.

Now I’m going to have a rant. A while ago I mentioned how annoyed I was getting with people using my mug. My lovely large mug, perfect for a good cup of coffee in the morning and a present from my mum. Yes I did leave it in the communal kitchen and no it did not have my name on it so my complaining was hardly that justified. I secretly glared at anyone I caught using it though.

It’s gone. It’s completely missing. I haven’t seen it in ages. I’m despairing. So I did what any sane, non-obsessed, normal person would do in a time like this. I created a poster and put it in the kitchen for all to see.

Missing Mug

That picture is genuinely a photo of my mug. Ironic, I know.

Well, I’m in a state of mourning now as it’s been a week and all I’ve got are some sympathetic comments and strange looks. RIP mug.

I have lost a mug and possibly gained the title of “Weird Mug Girl”.

Happy Wednesday!

Have you lost something recently? I wouldn’t mind but, damn, that was a good sized mug.

What are you hopeless at resisting? It doesn’t have to be food. I’m also very and when it comes to anything running-related…what’s that? A new electrolyte drink that people are raving about? Let’s get five.

What’s your view on healthy eating and treats?