Enjoying the food at least

Lockdown 3… the never ending days of sameness.

But Kyle and I have done our best to keep our spirits up and to enjoy the time we have left together (wow that sounds a bit scary). I mean, just the two of us (three with Alfie) before our lives get turned upside down in July.

One thing we really try to do every weekend is go for nice walks and enjoy our food. I mean, options are limited and this is really all anyone can do. But anyway, we try and have a nice walk together, or one of us will meet up with a parent or friend to go for a walk and a takeaway coffee to liven up the social juices.

During my pregnancy I’ve changed my usual coffee of choice (an obnoxiously complicated order) to a decaf almond latte which I just find divine. Previously I’d have some sort of syrup in there but my tastes have changed a bit and all I want is a coffee flavoured delicately creamy drink. Normally at home I’ll have a black decaf coffee (which I’ll invariably liven up with a side of chocolate), so it’s nice to have this simple pleasure to look forward to at the weekend.

Anyway a few other things that I’ve been really enjoying is cooking. We regularly get Hello Fresh, which we love as it jazzes up our weekday meals and keeps organising meals quite easy. But I was also recently sent a pack of game from the Game & Wild company. I’ve had meat from them before and really enjoyed it so I was excited to try out some other bits.

I don’t regularly eat game – I’d be more inclined in a restaurant to try something but I never think to try anything in a supermarket. But their Cook with Game Starter Pack is perfect for people who aren’t sure where to start. It comes with a selection of game and SO helpfully a recipe book.

Within the pack you get:

  • 6 Partridge Breasts
  • 4 Pheasant Breasts
  • 8 Pigeon Breasts
  • Venison Mince 500g
  • Talking Game Recipe Book

I don’t think  I’ve ever tried partridge, pheasant or pigeon so I was quite intrigued. I’ve had venison before (as a steak) but not as mince. I mean I was instantly thinking, burgers! I flicked through the recipe book, and the helpful seasonal recipe leaflet they included, to find options for the meat and the choice was fantastic. So many options!

I used the venison mind to make some INCREDIBLE burgers. They were so tasty. Less beefy than beef but just as juicy. Kyle was a BIG fan.

For the partridge I made a delicious lemon and mushroom risotto using one of the seasonal recipes and it was really tasty.

I love risottos but also feel a bit cheated when there isn’t a lot else going on so the added partridge gave it that extra jazz.

I had grand plans for the pheasant and pigeon by with the recipe of tasty looking curry and a stroganoff but as the weekend weather changed I got a very random and spontaneous desire for a BBQ. I could not get it out of my head!

Thankfully we had some coals saved in the shed, so got it fired up and, instead of wasting money on extra meat at the shop, we decided to bravely try the pigeon and pheasant on the BBQ (as well as some random pork steaks and ribs in the freezer in case it went pear shape!).

I tell you what, it worked! I marinated the breast with a tasty paprika and pepper herby blend and served with salad and buns. It was so good! Different, definitely, but a lovely treat on an early spring evening.

Really recommend this starter pack if you’re in the market for jazzing up your cooking and meals, especially during this boring lockdown period.

As well as cooking, we’ve also been ordering brownies from Instagram.  I mean this has sort of become a problem as we’ve now done it three times. The brownies are SO FRICKING good. They’re from an incredible hobby baker who does bespoke brownies that you order via direct messaging her.

M&M’s, Mini Eggs and Galazy Salted Caramel brownies

She’s been made redundant from work so this is a way for her to get a bit of money while she looks for another job. But MY GOD, she should definitely consider doing this for a living. Her brownies, honest to god, are the best I’ve ever had. I’d even go as far to say the best dessert food I’ve ever eaten. They are dense, squidgy, moist, soft, moreish and packed full of chocolate pieces (of which you can choose). I meeeeean WHAT. Kyle and I can’t get enough.

If you’re in need of a chocolate pick-me-up, I can’t recommend her more. She also does blondies, rocky road and millionaire shortbread (or monster creations blending them). Her Instagram is @nickichalam. Check her out immediately!

Mini Eggs and Guylian Shells brownies

We’ve already got another order on the go with her for next week…

What foodie bits have you been enjoying recently?

Have you ever ordered any baked items off of Instagram?

**Full disclaimer: I was sent the Wild & Game meat for free in exchange for a review. All thoughts are my own honest ones.**

21 Weeks Pregnant

Week 21 here we are.

I won’t lie, nothing much has greatly changed in the context of the pregnancy or my life because happily the pregnancy is going smoothly for now, and less happily because lockdown is life so exciting activities are somewhat limited.

That being said, the weather is on the change to spring-like feels and when the sun is out I am so much  happier! I definitely feels like this spring is a LONG TIME coming, you know? We had the darkness of Lockdown 3 over Christmas and then January and February basically being a bit poo, it’s like the weather is foreshadowing better times to come.

And I’m sure everyone is ready for them! Boris’ announcement this week has given us a bit more hope. We actually have DATES to look towards and plan to. Yes it might be months away before life returns to somewhat normality but we have a timeline now thank god!

I did have a little blip last week where at the start of the week I felt a bit meh. I figured it was lockdown fatigue but after my run  on Thursday morning I quickly went downhill and had to go back to bed. I just felt completely and utterly drained. I felt a little sick and just an overwhelming sense of tiredness. I had fears of first trimester-ness coming back with a vengeance. I took Thursday and Friday off from work and of course exercise and literally just spent it in bed with my iPad and a book.

It did me the world of good! By Friday evening (good planning eh!) I was feeling far more energised and alive (and ready for our usual takeaway, obviously) and by Saturday I was even well enough to go for a 10 mile run. Perhaps somewhat optimistically going that  distance I realise, but I went with the flow and it just felt good. The weather definitely helped and I came back with a spring in my step.

Usually I don’t get ill that often but I think this past couple of weeks the baby has had a bit of a growth spurt which has taken a lot of my energy and just knocked me for six. Running on Thursday morning clearly exacerbated things and my body said “nope!”. Being pregnant is hard and I’m not quite the machine (in my head) that I once used to be. But I was sensible and took the rest and then reverted back to Anna normality 😉

My hips have begun to ache a lot more and sometimes running can annoy this so I’m taking each run as it comes. Sometimes missing a usual run and doing a YouTube fitness video instead. I’ve become a lot more relaxed about this because I’m just happy to keep my body moving in a comfortable way that helps keep the baby and me strong.

I do feel like my bump has definitely “popped” more and I’m feeling less bloated and more like an actual pregnant person. With the weather warming up I was able to go for a walk with my coat unzipped and with less of a baggy huge jumper and felt like it was the first time the world had seen my bump. The world didn’t care, but every window I passed I was gawping at myself and my little tummy proudly sticking out. Finally!

Food-wise I’ve been all about chicken. I over did getting Indian takeaways (two a week!) and have now become obsessed with roast chicken, boiled veg and BBQ sauce. I either cook it myself or get it delivered (which is ultimately less faff and SO much tastier as whatever they put on it makes it taste incredible). It’s become a problem. But weirdly the thought of chicken wings and  KFC still are not doing it for me. These used to be my absolute favourite chicken takeaways!

And on a final note, our 20 week NHS scan and midwife appointment went really well! All healthy and happy and now I’m trying to read as much as I can about different bits and bobs to feel somewhat in control when the baby arrives. I have ages yet but it helps calm me a bit to feel I’m learning something ahead of time.

What’s your favourite takeaway?

Are you a good ill person? What’s your favourite way to recover?

Almost 20 weeks pregnant

So I’m almost 20 weeks pregnant and can happily say I mostly feel pretty good.

For me it’s been entirely true what people told me at the start when I was suffering so much during the first trimester, that the second trimester would be a dream. I very rarely get any sickness, most of my food aversions have disappeared (though chicken wings, my favourite crisps and apples apparently are still a no-go). My tiredness is not nearly as bad as it used to be. Occasionally if I’ve done a lot in a day I might have a little nap but generally I’m fine. I have loads of energy to do my workouts, my running and lots of walking (because what else is there to do in lockdown eh…).

I will say though that the thing that has crept up on me has been my body image. I mean this is no real shocker let’s be clear. A woman’s body changes very quickly week by week and it’s definitely an adjustment. No one likes to feel their jeans getting tighter round their waist or feel uncomfortable in general in clothes that not so long ago felt fine.

Obviously I’m pregnant and this is a thing. The baby is growing, my tummy is expanding – these are inescapable realities! But regardless of these facts, it’s still a hard one to adjust to. For the most part of this pregnancy I haven’t changed that much or look that pregnant. The biggest change was my boobs getting bigger. I’ve always had small boobs and so it’s been quite the shock to sudden have a lot more bounce going on!

Boobs aside though, recently I have definitely noticed my tummy “popping” more. And as excited as I am to look pregnant I’m in that awkward stage where it’s more of a bloated tummy than a baby bump look. And as it’s winter I’ve been under hoodies and jumpers and I guess somewhat subconsciously hiding that “bloat”. Ashamedly I’ve felt embarrassed of it.

I know this will sound very “woe is me” but I’ve had the (lucky) genetics of always having a flat tummy. Any weight I’d put on would go to my bum and thighs. But of course I’d get bloated from time to time because that’s life. If I ate a big meal or felt a bit gassy, my tummy would swell out a bit. I’d always be a bit embarrassed about this – as I expect most women would sadly. So now that that’s my constant shape right now I can’t help but feel a little bit self-conscious.

Like I said though, it’s an adjustment. I’m learning to embrace it. It definitely helps having Kyle there to make me feel better and attractive and to keep things in perspective. And I know very soon the bloat will look more like a bump and I will feel more confident in myself.

It is funny though to think that the bigger my bump is getting, the warmer it’s getting and the less clothes I’ll be wearing – so the bump can be “revealed” a bit more day-to-day. Big hoodies and jumpers just make me look like my normal self. I look forward to wearing tank tops and t-shirts so I can “feel” more pregnant all day, you know?

In other news, we’ve got our 20 week scan and midwife appointment on Wednesday which we’re really excited about. I can’t wait to see how much the baby has grown since our 16 week scan. I’m also quite anxious to speak to the midwife to talk about feeling the baby move, as I’ve yet to feel any “flutters”.  I know for first time pregnancies it can happen a lot later but it’s a reassurance I need to hear from someone face-to-face, you know?

I also want to hear that the baby is growing well. I haven’t put a lot of weight on and I hope that I’m fuelling everything right. I run and workout a lot and I want to make sure this is all healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I eat a lot too but the weight gain thing is making me a little anxious. I feel fine, I’ve had no pains and I don’t feel under-fuelled but I’ve never been pregnant before so I’m second guessing everything! I know in reality it’s probably all fine, but hearing from someone with medical experience would just set my mind to rest.

If you’ve been pregnant, did you have an easy second trimester?

Do you have a good body image?

5 Top Healthy Habits of a Highly Motivated Runner

Wow has it gotten cold in the UK, eh!? I’m still out running though and enjoying it. No such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices 😉 Today I have a great article on some good tips for being a motivated runner. Enjoy!

If you are a runner looking to accomplish your goals and even go ahead to beat a personal record, then you must cultivate a few habits of successful runners.

All runners are always looking for ways to improve their running, no matter their level of expertise. This is why you will find most of them pushing themselves to the limit to avoid the risk of stalling. 

One of the many ways to maintain and accomplish your running goals is by adopting healthy habits. Below are some of the healthy habits shared by effective and motivated runners to help you build your running lifestyle. 

  1. Plan ahead

Are there times where you are left wondering what’s for lunch at the last minute, then you end up eating high-calorie foods that are bad for your health? That too applies to running.

Ensure that you schedule your runs in advance and run them as unmovable appointments. This helps to ensure that you stick to your timetable. So, as the week begins, take your calendar, schedule all your week runs. Also, make meal plans ahead of time and set aside time for cooking.

  1. Become a morning runner

Most people don’t have enough time to keep a running routine for a long while still juggling between work and other responsibilities. However, there is a solution, which is to start running in the morning.

According to the U.S& World Report News, running in the morning has a lot of benefits, including the satisfactory feeling that your run is out of the way before life gets in. it also ensures that the runner enjoys long-term results, improved productivity as well as boosted metabolism.

  1. Strength train regularly

Some runners, especially beginners, are hesitant to start due to the myth that it will make them bulky and slower. But this is not the case; strength training is actually enjoyable and makes you an effective runner. 

Strength training is a physical activity meant to improve the runners’ muscles by exercising a certain muscle against external resistance. The benefits of this activity include increased running efficiency, improved endurance to help your body deal better with the stress of running, and much more.

  1. Hydrate and eat more vegetables

For runners, the food you consume is much more than just a meal because it acts like fuel.

What you eat or drink is very important, and therefore you are advised to check how you eat and make those healthy changes. Also, ensure that you carry a hydration pack for hiking as it is designed to transport water and make drinking more convenient when running.

  1. Stay consistent

To improve in running, you need to stay consistent. Do not take a week’s time off if you don’t have an injury.

Staying consistent involves creating exercises and diet plans and making sure you stick to the schedules.

Conclusion

Running on a daily basis and having healthy meals doesn’t have to feel like a punishment. In fact, they should be the motivation to make you a faster and effective runner.

Are you a morning runner?

Do you strength train to help your running?

First trimester to second – how I feel, running and food

I’m quite comfortably in the second trimester of my pregnancy now at 18 weeks and enjoying life.

So far I think I’ve put on about 3-4lbs – I’m assuming it’s going to increase quite quickly at some point!

Comparative to the first trimester, it’s an utter breeze. No constant feelings of nausea, no feeling like I was limited in what I could eat for fear of it turning my stomach or being too much. While I still can’t eat certain foods (apples, shockingly, can you even believe? Along with ice cream, hot chocolate and chicken wings), I can pretty much eat most things and eat far bigger portions than I was able.

Porridge thankfully doesn’t make me feel sick anymore and I’m gradually increasing my portion size little by little. Pre-pregnancy I would have a giant bowl, but then I had to half that bowl to a teeny tiny portion and now it’s about 3/4 of the way there again, hurrah!

My chocolate eating, however, has become quite something. I eat it every single day. Now previously I would of course eat chocolate regularly but this is literally every night.

I just love having a black decaf coffee a few lines of the Cadbury’s Mini Egg Bars (you must try if you haven’t) or Tony’s Chocolonely or Toblerone. Basically anything. We have a lot of chocolate in the house and every single night I’ll be getting some.

I’m not worried because it’s not like I’m eating an entire bar every single night (though some nights I do get close!) but to me it’s balance. We have nice balanced meals most days and if I eat a lot of chocolate one evening, I’ll make sure to eat more vegetables and less chocolate the next day.

My energy levels are so much better too. During the first trimester I was exhausted ALL the time. I had to take 30-60 minute naps in the afternoon to get through the day (thank god for WFH!). If I ran I would be totally drained for the rest of the day. My standing desk became my sitting desk and doing my usual strength workouts became very hard. Following along to YouTube workouts was tough as I felt so unfit.

To be honest I thought this was only going to get worse. However happily it has not. I no longer need naps, running and working out feel normal again and I get through the day without feeling like I’m walking through treacle. It’s crazy how things change so quickly.

In terms of my running, I’m still slower than pre-pregnancy, of course, but I have some mornings where I feel more energised  and zippy than usual and can be around 8:15-8:30 paces.

But then there are other runs where I’m nice and comfortable just going along at 8:50-9 min miles.

Running, despite being slower, doesn’t feel vastly different to how it used to. I do feel a pressure and slight weight in my lower tummy and this will often result in my needing to stop  a number of times to go for a wee during my longer runs. But I don’t feel any discomfort or pains when I run, or afterwards (otherwise I’d stop).

I did have a minor blip recently where my left of hip started to bug me. It felt like a niggle I’d had before so I didn’t think it was pregnancy related. But perhaps due to all the changes in my body and hormones it was exacerbated? Who knows. I was sensible though and rested it for about 6 days. Instead I did YouTube workouts instead and rehabbed my hip with squats, lunges and glute work. I found these definitely helped.

Now the hip issue has gone and I’m back to my usual runs. While I’m so glad it cleared up quickly and it wasn’t a long-term thing (touch wood) it did give me The Fear a bit. I really want to maintain my running as best as I can during this pregnancy. Now of course, as I keep saying, I know my paces will drop further and I will eventually be running less but I do want to continue to run every week as much as my body will allow. So far 30 miles a week with a 10-13 mile long run at the weekend is working perfectly. I adore my running at the moment, especially with lockdown. It’s such mental refresher and a way I derive great happiness in this worrying and admittedly rather boring time.

This is why when I started to get a niggle I was quick to react and take some time off. I’m  happy to take a number of days off rather than weeks off because weeks are big in this pregnancy journey. Lots is changing and I don’t want to suddenly try running again after a lot of time off and realise my body is just not able to anymore.

I know that might be a silly way to look at it and factually not accurate at all but it definitely encouraged me to be far more sensible than I’ve ever been. Normally I’d have pushed through the runs regardless, but I stopped straight away even though it wasn’t painful per se, just a bit niggly. Pain is usually what stops me. However I nipped it in the bud before it even got there, whew! A lesson for future non-pregnant Anna I think…

Did you run through your pregnancy (if you’re female and had children!)?

Do you like to snack in the evening?

What food would you hate to not be able to eat anymore?