My next marathon impending

This Sunday I have the New Forest Marathon.

I‘ve previously done this race a few years ago when I was pacing my friend Mike to get a sub-4 hour marathon (we missed the goal, but had a great race regardless).

I’ve been training for this race for about 12 weeks or so and feel like I’m in good shape. Not PB shape or anywhere close, but hopefully looking for a comfortable race where I can maybe push the pace a bit to see what I can do. Apparently they’ve changed the course from last time and it’s “fast and flat”. Well we will see! It definitely wasn’t fast and flat when I ran it last time.

My training has gone really well. Kyle has also been marathon training as he has a place for the October London Marathon. We’ve gone on lots of long runs together which has been really nice. I do love a solo long run listening to my favourite podcasts but I love running with Kyle as well, even if he’s a little grumpy about it 😉 It has meant though a lot of planning with regards to Isaac.

Normally once a week Isaac goes to either my mum’s or Kyle’s mum overnight over the weekend and we use that time wisely for us getting out the next morning to get our run done. Though sometimes we’ve had to tag team parenting and do our runs separately.

We’ve also had a few trips which have meant juggling around. For example, we went to Cardiff for a weekend a few weeks ago. I wanted to show Kyle around where I went to university (I did psychology there) and we also had a fun Pizza 10k race on the Sunday.

After a lovely Saturday moseying around and eating everything in sight (love that they have a Mrs Potts Chocolate House in Cardiff now!), we decided to run 10 miles Sunday morning before the race so we could get our 16 mile long run done. As the race didn’t start until 10.30am we had stacks of time beforehand.

Our 10 miles was lovely. We got to see more of the city and I could really show Kyle around. Though I did manage to trip over in Cardiff Bay and cut my knee open! It was a bit of a bloody mess but thankfully I was OK to continue running, though it did look a bit of a state.

We got to the Pizza 10k in enough time to get it cleaned up by the first aid team and then we were off.

It was a great race doing two laps around Bute Park – a park I knew so well from my time at university. I felt really strong and managed to push the pace quite a bit. I even managed to nab second female!

For this training cycle I’ve managed to do two 18 milers, a 17 miler and a few 16 milers. I never really go over 18 miles as I generally find that’s enough for me. I’ve been running three 10ks during the week, a parkrun and then the long run Sunday. Some of the runs have been with the running buggy and that’s hugely helped my strength.

My strength training has actually fallen to the wayside a bit as time has just run out. I know it’s not a great thing to miss as it’s how I try and stay uninjured, but life happens. I’ve been managing once a week, which is better than nothing. I do about 5 minutes worth of resistance band training while I wait for my porridge in the microwave which works my glutes. Usually before each run I do this too. In my eyes it’s about consistency and what you can squeeze in. Little and often helps massively.

So finger’s crossed Sunday goes well…

Our trip to Camden Market – all the food!

Kyle and I had a little mini-adventure this week.

We decided to have a day date just the two of us and go to London for a foodie trip. We had considered bringing Isaac but it was likely to not be that fun a day for him. It would be a lot of time in the pram, being ferried around and his naps would be all over the place. Instead he stayed with his aunty and had a lovely day with her going doing fun things like soft play.

After she came and picked him up, Kyle and I walked to the train station and headed to London. The plan was to go to Camden Market as there are so many food stalls there which looked incredible. After arriving, we walked from Waterloo Station to Camden, which was about 50 minutes. We do love a walk and it whetted our appetite nicely.

We got to the market at 11.30am and the place we were intending on trying first wasn’t actually open until midday so we needed to mooch around a bit beforehand.

Because we were both quite hungry at this point we landed ourselves in front of Funky Chips, which looked divine. They had “nacho chips” which sounded incredible. Basically Peri Peri dusted chips (fries for any Americans) loaded with cheese sauce, jalapenos, sour cream, more grated cheese and two delicious sauces.

Loaded nacho fries from Funky Chips

It was AMAZING. We hoovered these up so quickly it was unreal. I’m not a big spicy food fan but the jalapenos were delicious – enough heat to be warming and flavoursome. A very good start indeed to our foodie outing.

Then we headed to Oli Baba’s for their famous halloumi fries.

Halloumi fries from Oli Baba

These were delicious. Crispy, salty and sweet with the pomegranate seeds scattered on top and a perfectly balanced hint of mint.

Then we followed that with a Bill or Beak honey butter fried chicken burger. It was a sticky, greasy, crispy mess but SO good.

Honey butter fried chicken burger from Bill or Beak

After that we FINLLY headed to our main attraction, the Uh K Dogs n Juicy (basically Korean corn dogs). We were so excited. Corn dogs aren’t really something you see much of in the UK so we were really stoked to be able to try them. I went for a half turkey sausage and half mozzarella sausage, dipped in sugar and coated in mustard and ketchup. Kyle went for a full mozzarella, dipped in Cheetos dusting with cheese sauce.

Corn dogs from Uh K Dogs n Juicy

They were really good. I sort of wish I’d gone for a full mozzarella in the end as the cheese was amazing but to be honest I have no regrets. It was fun to eat and the cheese pulls insane.

Then we squeezed in our last savoury item by enjoying a delicious New York Reuben. This was a bagel with sauerkraut, salt beef, cheese and a sauce. Delicious!

NY Reuben from Bagel & Brisket

You might think we were full by then, this was not the case. We decided to end the day with something sweet.

Doughnut from Churros Donut

Kyle enjoyed four churro doughnuts (which I had a few cheeky bites of – the dough was so soft and melt in the mouth) and I got two scoops of cookie dough (Mini Eggs and Red Velvet flavours) topped with a coop of gelato.

Cookie dough from Naked Dough

Stick a fork in me, I was done! We had spent a fair bit of money, walked A LOT and eaten a ridiculous amount of food… we were ready to head home.

All the stall owners we met were so lovely and friendly, which really made the day even better. Everyone had a story to tell or nice things to say and couldn’t be more helpful or generous. It wasn’t hugely busy either which was nice. I mean it was a random Wednesday but it was nice not

It was such a lovely day. Of course I adore my child and love being his mum, but it’s nice to take a break and spend some quality one-on-one time with Kyle from time to time. We both had such a lovely day. Then it was back home to be parents again!

Have you ever been to Camden Market?

What foodie stall would have taken your fancy?

38 weeks pregnant

So one more day until I’m 39 weeks pregnant and almost one week until my due date (7/07/21).

Scary stuff.

Honestly though I can see myself going at least a week overdue. I just have that feeling. I’m not starting maternity leave until I pop so I at least have some structure and routine to my day so I’m not staring at the calendar. I think if I was on maternity leave now, or even next week, I’d be so bored. We’ve pretty much done everything for the baby coming. I’ve cleaned everywhere. I feel prepared and ready. So nothing left to do but wait.

But waiting is fine, to be honest. I don’t feel particularly uncomfortable. My pelvis and lower back do ache from time to time, I can’t wait to sleep on my back again and my nose getting congested every afternoon and evening without fail is annoying. But I’m lucky to really only be “suffering” from those issues rather than some of the more severe and uncomfortable symptoms some women can get. I’m highly aware of how easy my pregnancy has been compared to others and for that I’m grateful.

I’m VERY grateful that I’ve still being able to run as well. It’s two to three 5ks a week (a definite step down from 32 weeks where I was still running 25-30 miles a week). The calf niggle I got stopped me for a bit and then, when I got back to it, my pelvis and the general heaviness of my tummy made running further fairly uncomfortable and the recovery afterwards takes some time. But 5k is manageable and comfortable. I’m fairly intuitive with when I run now too. Have I had a good night sleep? How does my body feel?

While I’m really sad parkrun didn’t start back up again on 26th June (it’s been pushed back to August), we still went down to Netley Abbey (my home parkrun) to meet up with some running buddies for a “not parkrun” and coffee afterwards. We got there for 9am and were pleasantly surprised to see so many familiar faces running around the course. It didn’t feel crowded or unsafe. The sun was shining and Kyle and I enjoyed running the three laps around. Though Netley is far more hilly than I’m used to compared to flat Portsmouth. I definitely felt heavily pregnant running haha!

I managed to complete the 5k in just under 30 minutes, which I’ll happily take right now!

Then we went and sat outside the café and enjoyed some tasty rocky road that the lovely Sheryl had made and (decaf) latte. It was so nice – it almost felt like old normal times. It does make me sad that by the time parkrun is (hopefully) back up properly I won’t be able to run because I’ll have recently given birth. But I definitely want to pop down with the little man and support Kyle running. With parkrun it’s not just about the running, it’s about the social connections and that lovely Saturday morning warm fuzzy glow you get after being there.

On Sunday we went to Stansted House to go to the Nostalgia Festival, where Kyle’s sister, Laura, had a stall and the rest of his family were also there to support. She was selling her handmade wigs (which are just GORGEOUS). You can find her on Instagram @theWiggie and see her products HERE.

We even went on the carousel, which was hilarious and good fun.

The Nostalgia Show was good fun. We moseyed round the different stalls, selling vintage bits and bobs, and the street food vendors – so good.

For lunch I grabbed a chicken shawarma with halloumi fries…

Delicious food from Cairo Van

…and then followed that with an extremely chocolatey brownie.

Brownie was from a food truck called Gin and Tea

We even entered Alfie into a very light-hearted dog show that happened. He sadly didn’t win but he ALMOST won the most waggy tail award. He was robbed!

And back to running, I had a fantastic run on Monday morning in the cooler temperatures. My legs felt pretty good and the usual pelvic pressure wasn’t as strong. I actually ran a lot faster than I have in a while, which was surprising.

I was tempted to run a bit further but I decided to play it sensible because I wanted to run later in the week and recovery does take a bit longer. So pushing my body further is not the most sensible. All about consistent quality runs now!

So on to the next week I guess! Who knows how many pregnancy updates I have left to do eh!

Do you enjoy going round stalls at festivals?

What would you pick: regular fries, sweet potato or halloumi?

37 weeks pregnant

Wow so I am at “term” for my pregnancy!

So this basically means the baby is fully grown and potentially ready to be born. Of course it’s unlikely I’ll be giving birth in the next few days or even week (I say this simply because statistics show first time pregnancies tend to go late and the fact that I’ve had no inklings of things happening) but there’s a chance and if it happened he would be good to enter the world.

It’s just a waiting game which is both terrifying and exciting. We have everything ready at home. From clothes washed, nursery organised, next-to-me crib set up, pram built, car seat installed, reusable nappies washed and ready… so much to think about!

From a self-focused perspective, I’ve had my hair cut (last time was a year ago!) so I feel a bit more tidy. And I’ve also had my first COVID vaccine. I had the pfizer and other than a tender upper arm I felt fine. I did have an amusing moment when getting it done when the nurse asked if there was any chance I was pregnant. I thought she was joking but turns out she wasn’t and I think she was just on autopilot and hadn’t looked at me properly haha!

I’ve made my ‘padsticles’ (maybe TMI, but basically I’ve prepped my maternity sanitary pads ready to go with witch-hazel, aloe vera gel and lavender oil and popped them in the freezer so they’ll be cold and healing post-birth. If you don’t know, you bleed a lot post birth and everything is a bit battered, swollen and painful so this should help with healing).

I’ve tidied, cleaned, organised… full-on nesting has been a-go-go! My last job is to tidy up the garden a bit but that’s lower priority.

We also celebrated my birthday a little early (it was 19th June) as I really wanted to have a fancy afternoon tea and we decided to go to London. So we decided to go a week early so it wouldn’t clash with a busy weekend of Father’s Day and seeing family, and also being one week less pregnant helped! 😉

So we went to the Ampersand Hotel in Kensington and had a very quirky afternoon tea. It was “science themed” and was so much fun. We got to make our own lemonade with different ingredients. There was a cool dry ice smoke effect thing that happened when the waitress poured something in the top (can you tell science wasn’t my strongest skill at school??). And all the cakes were science themed or shaped.

We even got to dig for buried fossils in a chocolate crumb that looked like soil.

Not only was it fun, it was super tasty. And we were chuffed when they offered us seconds. We happily had a few more sandwiches!

My capacity to eat a lot though is disappointingly small and I was VERY full afterwards. It helped we had a lovely (albeit hot) walk in Hyde Park and then headed to find the nearest Doughnut Times for some treats to take home with us.

I got a Biscoff and original glazed, whereas Kyle also got a glazed as well as a Bueno flavoured one). We spotted Crosstown doughnut across the road and decided to grab one from there as well as we’d heard everyone rave about the peanut butter and jam flavoured one.

When we tried them later I have to confess, I much prefer the Doughnut Time doughnuts. The Crosstown was good don’t get me wrong but for someone who adores all things crazy sweet, Doughnut Time was just a bit more me. Crosstown was a bit more “mature” and so not as sweet and crazy. I’d definitely try some others though, just to be certain 😉

Moving away from doughnuts, one of the things I really wanted to do while pregnant was go swimming. However it’s not something in general I’m massively keen on and what with COVID making everything more complicated, I decided the best thing to do was embrace the good weather and take a dip in the sea instead. This would also mean I would have gotten in the sea pregnant as well, which was another nice box to tick.

We knew going down to Southsea beach (about 4 miles away from us) would be rammed because the weather was so good, so we decided to go to the quieter Eastern road seafront. It’s far less popular coastal spot, mainly used by dog walkers – not many people go swimming here! However, I was on a mission and didn’t want a long swim. So we drove the mile there (the first England Euro match was on in 30 mins so we were on a time  limit), I had my bikini on ready with a towel. We walked down to the edge and in I popped!

The water was lovely and warm surprisingly and not too deep. But deep enough for me to do a 5 minute little swim. It felt incredible – the weight of my bump just disappeared. I can understand the appeal of swimming when you’re pregnant (but the faff of getting there, getting changed, sorting my hair out afterwards and getting dry is just so much effort for me). We then hopped back to the car and got back in time for the football!

And on a final note, I was recently sent some collagen infused spring water from FYX drinks to try out. Each bottle contains 2500mg of marine collagen which is known to help repair damaged ligaments, joints and muscles due to the protein, as well as enhancing your skin, nails and hair.

I tried out their Raspberry, Acai Berry, White Tea and Aloe Vera flavour and their Lemon & Lime, Moringa Tea, Lemon Balm and Aloe Vera flavour. It’s low calorie (about 31 calories per bottle) and as well as the collagen contains lots of vitamins and antioxidants.

So a powerhouse drink! And it was surprisingly really tasty and refreshing.

Have you gone swimming (pool or sea) this summer?

Do you prefer Doughnut Time or Crosstown, or another doughnut brand?

Do you enjoy afternoon tea?

**Full disclaimer: I was sent the FYX drinks for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Fresh Content: Buying Food Machinery For The First Time

I’ve got a slightly different post today to do with food machinery – not something I’m that familiar with but interesting nonetheless.

When it comes to food production, there is a broad assortment of machines to choose from. You need to choose your food production machinery with a great amount of care, as this is something that will have a massive impact on quality and productivity levels at your business. Keeping that in mind, in this post we are going to provide you with all of the information you need to know when it comes to buying the best machine for you.

What should you consider when buying food production machinery?

New or second hand? – There is only one place to begin, and this is by determining whether you should opt for a new machine or one that is second-hand. The latter option can be extremely beneficial, as it gives you the opportunity to invest in a type of machine and/or model that you otherwise would not be able to afford. However, if you go for a used machine, you do need to acquire it from a credible retailer, as you don’t want to run the risk of anything going wrong. 

Efficiency levels – Efficiency is a factor that is of paramount importance when shopping for food production machinery for your business. You want to be sure that the machine is going to speed up the production process, so that the effects can be felt at your business in terms of enhanced output and consequently increased sales. 

Price – Price is a pivotal factor when buying any product for your business. However, you should not simply go for the first machine you lay your eyes on. You need to choose with care. Consider the other aspects first and then let price be the final determining factor.

Read reviews – You should read reviews that have been left by previous customers. This is the best way to get an honest insight into the machine that you are considering purchasing and to make sure the company has a good reputation in the food services industry. If people have generally not been satisfied, you can rest assured that they will have taken to the Internet to express their annoyance, and this is something you should be able to pick up on with ease.

Credible retailer – Last but not least, it is always a good idea to purchase the machine from a credible retailer. Not only will this improve your chances of benefitting from a quality machine, but it will also ensure that help is available in regards to maintenance and servicing as well. 

To conclude, there is a lot that needs to be considered when you are looking for machinery for your food production needs. However, if you carefully contemplate the points that we have mentioned, you should find it much easier to locate the machinery that you require for your needs. Take the time to do your research and assess the different options that are out there. The Internet is a great source for all your information.

Is there an area you’re familiar with?

Have you ever worked with food?