Things lately

I thought I’d do a post on some ‘stuff’ I’ve been enjoying lately, like books, films and, most importantly, food! (Psst! It’s my birthday today too!)


Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand

Unsurprisingly I like reading books about running. I also like reading books that later become films. I can’t remember how I came across this book but I found out it was going to be made into a film directed by Angelina Jolie and the premise sounded incredible (and had a runner in it).

Unbroken book

It’s a non-fiction account of the Olympic track runner, Louis Zamperini, who was taken prisoner by the Japanese during World War II. “Epic” doesn’t do his story justice. The journey of his life is gripping, harrowing and inspiring. I absolutely cannot wait for the film now (apparently to be released towards the end of the year). The book was hard to read at points considering what he went through as a prisoner of war but it is a fascinating read that I definitely recommend.

The Sports Gene: Talent, Practice and the Truth About Success – David Epstein

In a nutshell, this book explores the arguments surrounding whether it’s nature or nurture as to why some people become successful athletes.

Sports gene book I love books like this, based on research and published papers. However it can get a little heavy going when it goes into details about DNA and particular genes. I also found it a bit meandering in it’s arguments and sometimes a little tedious as it is so heavily research-based. But there were many interesting findings and anecdotes about athletes and ‘gifted’ people which were fascinating.


Food Inc.

A relatively old film (2008) but still very relevant. Food Inc. is a documentary looking at the American food industry. It covers farming, processed food, animal welfare, environmental issues…sounds heavy-going but it was actually quite a good watch in terms of entertainment (not sure if it’s ‘PC’ to call a documentary high-lightening some hard-hitting issues entertaining but hey).Food_inc

Scary doesn’t quite cover many of the issues raised. Firstly, the condition in which animals are reared is horrific. Lack of space, sunlight, hygienic conditions and respect were clear. And also how Big Business is hand in hand the government and how much control they have over the market as a whole.

I live in the UK but a lot of the points raised are very relevant to us in Britain as well. It’s easy to assume we’re “better” but I’m pretty sure we’re ticking a lot of the same boxes.

Maybe clichéd to say this, but this really hit home to me. It’s really changed my opinion on the meat I buy. I do try and get free-range where I can but cost tends to be my biggest factor. Personally I don’t think this is right. If we can’t afford as much meat as we’ve been having then maybe that’s not such a bad thing to reduce down a bit…


I haven’t posted anything about food (other than cakes and meals out) in a while. Mainly because my meals have been quite boring and uninspiring. But I thought I’d show a few choice meals I’ve been enjoying lately. Funnily enough some of my running club friends have been uploaded pictures of their meals on Facebook which is always interesting! I love seeing what people eat.

Gammon and Eggs

Gammon and eggs Quite a standard easy meal. Grilled gammon, two fried eggs, couscous and veg. Sometimes I have couscous or sometimes I go without depending on how hungry I am.

Sausages and Sweet Potato Fries

Sausages and sweet potato Free-range chipotle sausages, oven roasted sweet potato fries and a kale, carrot, onion and courgette mix with onion gravy. Another easy meal and very satisfying. I’d like to say I made the gravy myself but I got an ‘add water’ variety.

Creamy Pumpkin Chicken

Creamy pumpkin chicken Right, before you judge this on it’s appearance, it is DELICIOUS. Basically lots of vegetables (courgettes, onion, kale, mushrooms) sautéed with chicken breast chunks. Then half a tin of pumpkin puree and a big dollop of cream cheese – it gives it an incredibly thick and creamy sauce. Honestly, it rocks my world. My original recipe can be found HERE.

Duck Egg Scramble Salad

I bought some duck eggs the other day from a local farm and wasn’t sure what to do with them.

Duck eggsThe yolks were huge! 

So I just scrambled them with some random veggies and then had that in a salad.

Duck egg scramble salad It was a fairly monster salad and I was stuffed afterwards. These eggs are quite big so probably didn’t need three…FYI they didn’t taste that different to normal eggs.

Feta Chicken

Feta chickenThis is an absolute weekly staple meal in our house. I have shared the recipe before HERE, but now make it in the slow cooker now. Basically you add chicken and the tomato sauce to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Then you crumble feta over the top and let it melt for about 5-10 minutes. Then serve!

I have nothing special planned for today as I’m working. I’m writing this on Wednesday so I actually have no idea what my birthday will bring. Fingers crossed for lots of cake. Because what’s a birthday without cake?! Not a proper birthday that’s what.

What have you been reading or watching lately?

Do you like documentary films? I’m not a fan but we got Netflix and Food Inc. seemed interesting.

What meals are staple meals in your house?

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.


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!


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?

Call me goldilocks

Zoom zoom how the days are flying! Thanks for your lovely comments on my baking fail in my last post. It’s the equivalent of an ugly kid I think – you tell them it’s what’s on the inside that matters (i.e. the taste), not the appearance Winking smile And the cake tasted amazing so that’s all that mattered.

I’m currently feeling a bit achy and tired from my interval session with the running club last night. Ack, it was painful. I literally hate those sessions. I much prefer a lovely nice run. Not this “run to that lamppost at top speed” nonsense. But it must be done. And you do feel great afterwards (after the nausea and pain has disappeared…).


This is a snapshot of the training (a graphical representation if you will…oooh er). I’m amazed that one of my last intervals was my fastest! The intervals increased in distance (as we went to the next lamppost along and back) but none really went on longer than a minute I guess. No way I could sustain this for a long time!

So it’s What I Ate Wednesday today (check out Jenn’s blog for more information).

I thought I’d show you my eats recently. Because I’m running around 30 miles a week (and two of those sessions focused on speed – Tuesday night’s session and Saturday’s Parkrun) and doing two spinning classes a week (and 30 minutes of pump at the weekend) I’m finding myself quite hungry quite frequently (surprise surprise eh). Sometimes ‘hangry’ (angry with hunger – or food rage as Ben describes it).

To combat this I’ve been trying to ramp up my between meal snacking to more filling options. Also I’m a voluminous eater (i.e. I like a big plate of food and regular snacks otherwise I feel cheated with life) so this works out nicely for me.

Breakfast: same old same old but with a slight change.


Oatmeal (a good half a cup) and a tablespoon of chia seeds with enough almond milk to give it a good thick consistency. Zapped in the microwave (I’m sorry, cold over-night oats don’t float my boat. It’s gotta be steamy and stodgy for my liking – call me goldilocks). I haven’t really caught on to the chia seed bandwagon that always seems so hot in the blogging world. However, I’ve recently been reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and he mentions chia seeds (briefly really) in one of the things that seem to help the amazing tribe runners run. Well I am sold. Jeeze I am such a sucker for books and what they tell me. Honestly I believe anything if it’s written in a book by a supposed credible source.

Lunch: I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t snack between breakfast and lunch. I never need to I find. I’m an afternoon and evening snacker.


This might just look like vegetables and salad but I assure you within this vast Tupperware box there is also a whole load of tuna. Like I said, I’m a voluminous eater. I love eating a monster salad that takes me a year to get through.

After this I have a box of popcorn. I’ve been added salt to my popcorn as I don’t think I eat enough salt and with all that running and sweating it can’t be a bad thing to add!IMG_4223

I probably have a couple of cups worth of popcorn. I’ve actually started a wave of popcorn eaters in the office. Everyone’s gone popcorn mad now! I’m proud.

Then I have low-fat (but not 0%) Greek yogurt. I like it a bit creamy but not overly so.


In the morning before work I pop in a load of frozen fruit and by the time lunch comes round it’s all defrosted and the yogurt is still lovely and chilled with lovely added flavour from the fruit.

First snack: usually this is something from my Graze box:


My favourites being the dip ones… ahh I love those sweet jammy dips.

Healthy snacks

Or other bits and pieces, like dried fruit and nuts.

Then later I’ll have an apple and a banana and lots of peppermint tea. If I’m still feeling peckish I’ll probably dive back into the graze box again (I love them!)

When it comes to dinner the only problem I’m having is that when I’m at running club I find it hard to have a large meal straight away. But this the other night was perfect. I had prepared the tomato sauce and got everything ready to go in the oven before I left for running club and then it was just a case of leaving it to cook while I showered, which allowed my stomach to chill out a bit before chucking food into it straight away.


This was chicken, stuffed with goat’s cheese and wrapped in two pieces of lean bacon. I’m not a fan of stringy bacon but I like the lean stuff. Then I coated it with a herby tomato sauce and served it with broccoli. Perfect.

Post-dinner snacks: In the evening I always need snacks.Healthy snacks 2

After my post-dinner apples (never changes) a bit later on I’ll snack on a cheese string and a yogurt. Lately I’ve been loving the Activia yogurts especially the thick and creamy ones. Lots of protein so nice and filling before bed!

And that’s me. After running club and my stomach has settled a bit it’s a case of trying to eat as much food as I can within a shortened period of time. I’m not necessarily hungry in the evening but I hate waking up famished and if I’ve got spinning the next day (like I do Fridays after running club Thursday evening) I want to know I’ve got fuel in the tank so I’m good to go.

What do you snack on between meals? I used to only go for fruit (love it) but it wasn’t very sustaining. So now it’s all about nuts and protein-based things like yogurt and cheese (the strings and Babybels).

How do you make sure you’re eating enough for the exercise you’re doing? I don’t want to lose any weight. I want to be strong and healthy and damn fast at running so this is really important for me.

What workouts do you do that you just hate but know you should do them?

Cake and Recovery

Whew, I feel so much more human after getting some good night’s sleep for the past couple of days.

Honestly, the weekend adventures hugely took it out of me. And, this is going to sound CRAZY coming from me, but I have decided to not jump straight back in to running. My body is literally exhausted. I haven’t done cycling in years so to suddenly jump on a bike and cycle up a mountain large hill is quite a shock to my system. I’m happy to say my previous injury from the other week seems to have disappeared. However I now have a new twinge in the back of my knee but it doesn’t feel that serious. But ice, rest and cake should make things all better.


As annoying as it is, I’m going to take a break from running this week and try using the elliptical machine at work instead. I think I really need to just take some time to allow my leg to fully heal. The Challenge really didn’t help things just after getting better last week. I hate the elliptical but I think I need to do something to stop myself from going mad.

My next race is a 10 mile trail race through the New Forest (beautiful forest in the South of England) on 14th July so I’m hoping this break will be good enough to be better before then.

So speaking of cake…it was my birthday last week and I didn’t really get a chance to go into much detail about how I celebrated. Well I didn’t to be honest. I had the UK Challenge the next day and that went on until Sunday so celebrations were limited. But my amazing mother brought round cake in the evening. People, there is always time for cake.


How pretty is this cake?? It’s gorgeous! My mum isn’t a great baker. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her bake. Ever. I could controversially say I’ve never seen her cook…but I don’t want to incur the wrath of the mothership Winking smile (love you, Mumsie!!)

But, despite not being Nigella Lawson, my mum knows how to SHOP. And she did good on picking this beauty out. A Waitrose special cake (for those non-UK-based, Waitrose is like the queen of all supermarkets. Maybe just one below M&S Food).

However, the decorative butterflies could not be eaten we quickly found. Very disappointing and slightly nasty to chew. But otherwise, a very tasty jam and buttercream birthday cake sponge.

At work I was also give some very beautiful flowers from my lovely co-workers. IMG_4530

So I felt very spoilt despite having a mid-week birthday with no weekend celebration!

And in the morning (I’m working my way backwards through the day here for some reason…) my husband, Ben, decided to send me on a bit of a treasure hunt around the house. He had printed out lots of different pictures of my favourite clothes shops and running gear shops and restaurants (and hid them all about the place with clues to direct me to them). I could pick and choose what I wanted in terms of spending some money to get some clothes and going somewhere to have a nice meal. There were also little pictures of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and our favourite Indian restaurant so that’s on the horizon too hehe. So lots all my favourite things to look forward to!

From my parents they gave me a Lululemon workout top. SO chuffed. I’ve seen this top all over the Internet I loved the design.


Not sure how much I’ll get to wear this year round due to the weather though! Best get wearing it soon Winking smile

From my mother-in-law she bought me a Lumie Bodyclock Starter Alarm Clock.


Not hugely necessary at the moment as it’s so light in the morning…but in the winter this will mimic the light of a sunrise and will, supposedly, gradually wake me up just before my alarm. I love being woken up my sunlight in the morning at the moment so this will be great (hopefully!) in the winter when it doesn’t get light until like ever 9ish.

On to some food-related news…stir-fries are back in the game again. Anything where more than half the meal is veg is a winner for me. I’m not sure it even warrants a recipe (basically throw together a load of veg, noodles, chicken and a handful of cashew nuts). But I did make my own sauce and that was pretty tasty.


Lemon Stir-Fry Sauce (serves 2)

  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. flour/corn starch (to thicken it)


So easy, so tasty.

Psst! I’ve got some exciting news which I will divulge soon in my next post!

What’s your favourite stir-fry sauce? I love lemon, but I quite like black bean as well.

What do you like getting for your birthday? I’m not great with surprises so I usually ask for things I’ve seen previously. From Ben I just said surprise me and I was so chuffed he put so much effort into the treasure hunt and in the end letting me choose what I wanted from a predefined list (which he knew I’d love haha).

Do you like being woken up early by the sun? Though it means I can’t sleep in at the weekend I love having the whole day ahead of me and feeling all refreshed.

Coffee mugs, egos and interesting books

I do believe I’m getting a bit of a reputation at work…We’ve had a few new starters and they clearly have not been on-boarded with regards to the usage of my mug.


I’ve spotted a couple of them using my mug (on separate days) but decided not to mention anything. But they are quickly informed of their error by the other members of staff when they see them using it. Apparently I seem to strike fear in my co-workers. Can’t be a good thing…or can it? Winking smile

Speaking of work, on Thursday night after work we had a little light-hearted fitness competition of running 100m. In the end it was four of us competing for the title. Three men (all either in or close to their fifties) and me.

Now, I love running (did you notice??). I pretty much thought I had this in the bag. These men weren’t terrible unfit, far from it for example, one of them does triathlons and one is a regular runner. But still, I’m practically half their ages, in the prime of my fitness and youth. I’ve got this.

I really didn’t.

I came last. Not even close to third. Within 10 seconds of the race (after Usain Bolt would have finished…) I realised I had lost. They were long gone. Yep, I was pretty embarrassed. Needless to say, the one who does neither triathlons nor regular running won. Jeeze.

Well, what can I say! I’m an endurance runner not a sprinter. Let’s leave it there shall we?

So I thought I’d do a review of a book I just finished called Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss.


I was hooked from the moment I started reading. It was so interesting and definitely enlightened me to ‘the stuff behind the scenes’ that we, as consumers, might not be aware of.

Why read it?

  • There was loads of information from interviews with food industry ‘insiders’/experts/scientists/etc. giving first-hand accounts of what actually goes on in places like Kellogg’s, General Mills etc. and some of the techniques they use to get us to buy and ultimately eat their food, which I found fascinating.
  • It makes you realise just how much influence these big businesses have over the government and nutritional advice. Scarily so.
  • It explains why salt, fat and sugar are used within processed food and what happens when they’re taken out.


  • I disliked how pretty much the whole way through it was emphasised how the food industry was pushing all this nutritionally defunct food to the consumer and that the consumer was purely the victim. It gave the impression that the food industry is making us obese through no fault of our own, which I disagree with. It’s all about choice. As consumers we are as much, certainly if not more, responsible for what we eat than the food industry. If we stopped buying the food the industry keeps churning out than they’d have to find a new way to make money, i.e. make nutritionally sound food.
  • Fat is demonised. In general, I disagree. Saturated fat is making a come-back and doesn’t seem to be as terrible as once assumed (check out THIS article). It seems the real bad guys are the hydrogenated oils, but within the book fat is mainly just scooped up under the saturated fat heading which I don’t think is justified.
  • You can get a bit lost in all the anecdotes and he sometimes strays from his points.

I’d definitely recommend it if you like this sort of stuff. I’m a big fan of these sort of things but you can get a bit bogged down with one side of the picture.

Anyway, it’s Friday – hurrah! This weekend is the Marwell Zoo 10k run (on Sunday) which both Ben and I are running so we’re quite excited. Ben’s mum and my parents are going to cheer us on and then we’re off for lunch somewhere nice. And Ben will finally be able to have a glass of wine after his 8 weeks of not drinking. He’s developed a nervous twitch Winking smile

And I get to wear my running club vest to this race, which is quite exciting!


I am proud to be a Hedgie! Smile

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

What have you got planned for this weekend?

What’s your next race (or sporting event)?

What good books have you read recently? I’m a huge fan of reading and don’t have any particular genres that I stick to so I’m always open for recommendations!