What I’m Loving Lately in Lockdown

So post lockdown marathon, things have been fairly slow round here.

I’ll do a more thorough post on the things I’ve been doing to keep myself somewhat sane in terms of fitness, but immediately post marathon I didn’t do a whole lot of running. This was mostly intentional. I felt quite chilled and had a lack of urgency to get back into any sort of formal training again so gave my legs a bit of a break. Unfortunately this intentional break turned into an enforced break as I then got a tummy bug which wiped me out for a number of days.

At first I thought it was food poisoning because of the symptoms but then it recurred a day or so later for another wave of rubbishness. I felt very weak during this time so avoided anything other than just walking. I did attempt a run when my stomach felt better but it felt dreadful and I canned it.

But anyway, I’m feeling far better now and back running. So I thought I’d do a bit of a what I’m loving lately but in lockdown.

So weekends can sometimes be a bit tough as normally I’d spend the majority with Kyle. But as we’re currently self-isolating at our respective homes, we’re separated. And of course I can’t really go anywhere beyond walking and running, so this has left somewhat of a gap in my weekend.

My dad and I have watched a number of films together which has been lovely. We’ve delved into a few documentaries: McQueen, Diego Maradona, Supersonic, Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, as well as some classics like Saving Private Ryan, A Few Good Men and some newer films like Hustlers and The Founder. I must say, all have been pretty good. Any recommendations welcome 🙂

As well as films, my family and I have been enjoying a Sunday roast, something we’d stopped doing for a while because, you know, we’re all busy people doing different things. But it’s been so lovely us all cooking together this family meal. And I really feel my cheese sauce has come to perfection now 😉

My favourite roast is pork, followed by lamb… my least favourite is beef. Of course I love chicken but I don’t see this as a proper roast meat? Is that weird? Possibly because I can eat a fair amount of a chicken on my own that it just shows how greedy I am.

Another thing I’ve been loving are my Aussie Soles, which I was sent recently. They’re flip-flops that have orthotics for your toes, heel and arch to help support your feet when walking.

Now I tell you, I’m doing a lot of walking in lockdown! When I’m not running I’m doing a long walk each day and as the weather gets warmer I love going out in flip-flops. I’ve been told by many a physio that flip-flops are quite bad for not only our feet but our posture and the way we walk, but having the additional support built in it means they’re far better for you.

There are several different colours and types, but I went for the Starfish variety. And they’re sooo comfy. I love them. Actually it’s funny because my mum gave them a try (we’re the same size) and instantly fell in love with them and bought herself a pair too!

The other good thing about them is they’re vegan too – so guilt-free 🙂

They’ve also given me a cool discount code to use at the checkout for 20% off. Just put in ANNATHEAPPLE20.

Also, I was recently made a TRR Nutrition Ambassador (so fancy eh!) and have been trialling out their products and they recently shared with me a 14 day workout plan for me to share. It’s also full of great recipes and nutrition tips from one of their advisors of nutrition and a High-Performance Nutrition, Claire Fudge RD (@the4thdiscipline). Worth a gander if you need some inspiration!

I love the TRR Nutrition products and have previously reviewed their advanced collagen supplement (you can find my review HERE). I’ve also tried out their whey protein which I adore as well. Perfect to vamp up my porridge with a bit more protein and some tasty chocolatiness. They also do a vegan variety too.

And you can get 15% off their products using my code ANNAAPPLE15 – happy days all round!

No aftertastes and not too sweet!

I love their products as they’re such good quality, sports approved and just a solid way to get some added nutrition into you.

And a final add… I received this so incredibly thoughtful and lovely medal from Kyle in the post celebrating my marathon. It was such a sweet thing for him to do and I had no idea it was coming, so it was a lovely surprise. Ahh 🙂

What have you been lovely during lockdown?

What’s your favourite roast?

Do you like flip-flops?

**Full Disclaimer I was sent the flip-flops and the TRR products for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

All the things I’m loving lately

There is so much good stuff happening right now, I’m loving life.

2020 really has been a great year so far. So let’s get cracking with a few life updates.

I got a promotion at work! I really love my job at the moment and enjoy what I do, and so getting a promotion is just the icing on the cake. My job hasn’t actually changed that much, but I have more authority and “clout” in what I do. Changing careers a few years ago was 100% the right thing for me to. I love my week and I work hard. I feel confident and happy with where things are going. Rather than despondent, lost and confused as I was previously (and a short commute MASSIVELY helps too of course).

And another happy life event is that my flat has a buyer (did I mention it was on the market? It has been since before Christmas…but thanks to Brexit and the election it was slow times) and Kyle and I have found a house and had our offer accepted! So all things are in motion for us to move out in the coming months. SO EXCITING. Obviously my promotion certainly came at a timely moment as well for this with all the mortgage application process and finances. I’ll share more when things get more finalised 😀

I’ve also been kindly sent a few products to test out.

I was sent some KALME Day Defence www.kalme.co.uk facial cream to try out. It contains SP25 and is clinically shown to reduce skin redness and sensitivity. I’m a HUGE fan of any sort of face cream that has SPF in it because…well, wrinkles. Yes, entirely vain but there we go. Other than things like alcohol and smoking, the sun is a big reason for wrinkles and I for one and trying my best to look ever youthful 😉

While I’ve never suffered from acne, the cream also contains zinc oxide which helps reduce inflammation and combat breakouts, which I do get occasionally.

The cream has got lots of good stuff in it for sensitive skin and for looking after you, so I’m more than happy to use this. Especially when doing long runs out in the open with the sun beating down. The only thing I will say is that it’s quite thick so you don’t need a huge blob (but works for wearing on runs).

I was also recently sent some cold brew coffee, funnily enough called Calm Coffee – a lot of calming stuff going on in this post!

It’s coffee that is infused with 10mg of CBD (Cannabidiol). I was sent the Americano and the Caffe Latte.

The American uses 100% Arabica Brazilian coffee beans and is basically black (as Americanos tend to be), whilst the latte contains oat milk. And because they’re served in cans, this means they’re a solid environmentally friendly choice.

With this I was sent the ground coffee version too, which is also infused with CBD. I make this either using my coffee machine (which is not an all-singing all-dancing variety but your simple “add scoops of ground coffee and water” to variety) or in the coffee press.

So CBD… what’s the crack? It’s not like THC (the more infamous variety) in that it doesn’t give you a high and it’s non-psychoactive. But CBD is commonly taken by people with anxiety, or insomnia, and inflammation or chronic pain. It’s not classed as a medical product however, it’s classed more of a supplement, but it (at least ancedotal at the moment) is said to help relieve these issues to an extent.

I really enjoyed the cans. Very refreshing, no strange tastes… just like a cold brew coffee really. And the ground coffee was delicious too. I like the fact that it’s touted to help you focus and energise you – definitely something that combines well with the caffeine. I wasn’t “buzzed” or running about that place and I wasn’t “zenned” out, but it was just like drinking a nice cup of coffee and feeling the benefits of that.

I’ve also been sent a number of turmeric supplement products too. This is something I am super excited about because there’s a lot of hype about turmeric being good for reducing inflammation and being good for injury-prevention and recovery (something I’m definitely no stranger to as I’m sure you’re aware).

I was sent three turmeric supplements: two capsule varieties and a bio-fermented liquid which has both probiotics and digestive enzymes in as well. All the products are vegan as well.

The turmeric capsules both have a combination of black pepper and ginger and contains zero additives and fillers. To counteract the fact that the compound curcumin, which is the active ingredient, gets quickly metabolised by the body, the added black pepper which contains piperine helps get the maximum absorption and bioavailability from it. The ginger which helps with the digestion and absorption too.

The Bio-Fermented Turmeric is a liquid that you drink (well, you have a shot of basically). Again it contains the black pepper necessary for decent absorption as well as live cultures to help with digestion. It actually tastes quite nice as well! I thought I was going to have to hold my nose and take it but I really enjoy having a spoonful before my porridge in the morning.

Considering I’m marathon training at the moment, I’m loving that I have all this turmeric to take. Reducing inflammation from running is a key priority to me. I’m not one of those total hardy souls who can run all the miles every day. I have to be sensible and really focus on recovery and looking after my body so these supplements have come at the perfect time for me. I take the liquid in the morning, then the capsules with dinner at night. You can get them in Holland & Barrett soon 🙂

Do you take any supplements?

Do you enjoy drinking coffee?

Do you wear any SPF creams throughout the day?

**Full disclaimer: this post contains products that I was sent for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

What I’m loving lately – October/November

Blimey October has come and gone quickly and November is roaring by. I mean in some respect for me October felt like the longest month because of going to Chicago and Toronto but in other ways it’s flown by.

So onto some cool stuff I’ve been trying and loving lately.

I was recently sent a Vietnamese cooking set from Sous Chef.

Beautiful packaging!

It’s part of their Christmas gift sets that they have at the moment. I love cooking so I was really excited about this.

And let me tell you, they fully deliver on the ingredients and items in the package! The items included are:

  • The Food Of Vietnam cookbook
  • Potato Flour
  • Chaokoh Coconut Milk
  • Vietnamese Rice Paper
  • Vietnamese Shrimp Paste
  • Rice Vermicelli Noodles
  • Vietnamese Fish Sauce
  • Hanoi Rice Vinegar
  • Tamarind Pulp
  • Sous Chef Drawstring Bag

The cookbook is massive (seriously huge!) and contains so many recipes from Luke Nguyen, a renowned Vietnamese chef in Australia. The ingredients are exactly what you need to create an authentic meal and are of fantastic quality.

My dad loves cooking and loves Asian food so this is something I would have certainly considered buying him for Christmas. As it was, I got to do lots of cooking with him using this set. We’ve always enjoyed cooking together since before I went to university when he taught me how to cook and so we LOVED this.

It’s a great idea because a lot of the time when you want to cook a different cuisine you need to source and buy so many of the ingredients. And sometimes that can be tricky if the ingredients aren’t the usual ones we’d find in our supermarkets, whereas with this you have them all ready to go and a host of recipes that need them.

We loved the Crisp silken tofu crusted in lemongrass (mmm so lemony) and the Quy Nhon fish cakes so far!

I’ve also been trying some cool protein powder from REGENATIVE from Whey Forward Health Industries. It’s aimed at protecting cells and tissues from oxidative damage and the general poundings that running and endurance sports can cause.

When you exercise your body produces an increased amount of free radicals, and antioxidants can help clear this up and prevent oxidative stress to your body (causing inflammation, damages muscles and potentially lead to injury). Due to its “bioavailable” form of amino acids within the protein, it also helps with building muscles. And it’s Informed-Sport Certified, which means it has been rigorously batch-tested for banned substances. So no worries about doping, eh! 😉

You can buy it as a monthly delivery pack which gives you:

  • 28 individual sachets (Dark Chocolate & Himalayan Salt flavour or unflavoured)
  • A cool bamboo storage case
  • REGENATIVE® Starter Guide 
  • REGENATIVE Rechargeable Vortex Mixer

I quite liked having the unflavoured versions as I’m a big fan of plain porridge anyway. You can also add it to soups and things like that as well without compromising the taste. I love protein powder and always put it in my porridge in the morning just to help keep me fuller for longer and get an easy amount of protein early doors.

So many sachets!

I also LOVE the Vortex Mixer. Mixing protein powder can be a nightmare but this is incredible. So easy and works fantastically!

It charges via USB

Actually, I have recently given it to Kyle as he’s been wanting to up his protein and found trying to mix protein powder with water to drink using a shaker is dreadful as it’s still so lumpy. But with this it mixes in SECONDS and zero lumps. He keeps telling people about it in the office so I think he’s happy haha!

Also, I’m a bit late to the party but I’m loving my Goodr sunglasses that I bought before Chicago.

I mean I haven’t technically had that much of a chance to wear them for running due to my injuries (though I did wear them during the marathon), I love them. They fit perfectly.

It’s nice as well as Kyle got them in a different colour and as they’re one size only we can swap with each other if we fancy a different colour.

And I can’t not mention something sweet and tasty… We’ve recently just finished our office bake off competition. So no more weekly bakes in the office, which is devastating! But we had some truly amazing bakes which made a Monday morning far more enjoyable 😉

These were the overall winner: chocolate lava cakes. Heated up in the microwave for 15 seconds and eaten with a spoon, divine! When that chocolate lava seeps out it’s honestly heavenly.

Do you wear sunglasses to run in?

Do you like Asian cuisine?

Do you think you get enough protein from your diet?

**Full disclaimer: I was sent the Vietnamese food bundle and the protein shake bundle for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Chicago Food Recap

Ahh our Chicago trip seems so long away now. But the memories are good 🙂

Staying in three different AirBnb’s helped extend our reach of where was easily accessible to go sightseeing (and eating). I did a bit of research before we went (one of my favourite things to do pre-holiday it must be said) and found a few top contenders for the best deep pan pizzas in Chicago.

Deep pan is a BIG deal in Chicago. One of the top rated was called Pequod’s. It was lucky we stayed in Wicker Park for the first night because in all honesty we probably wouldn’t have gone there otherwise because it was quite far out from our other Airbnb locations. I mentioned this meal a few posts ago, so go check that out.

Another pizza place we tried out was Lou Malnati’s and was actually one of our final meals. This was another high contender on all the lists of “best pizza”. As a chain there were many all over Chicago. It was very similar to Pequod’s in terms of how long the pizza took to prepare and cook (over 30 minutes) but I have to say, I far more enjoyed this pizza. And I don’t want to really as I always prefer more independent food places over franchises, but it is what it is.

I think the reason I preferred it more is because there wasn’t quite as much dough. It still had a thick base but it was a bit firmer and crispier. When we took a slice from the pan it held its shape better.

It was a lot more cheesy as well – in fact, one slice alone had 730 calories. That is crazy. As I always say tho, you’re on holiday and for me it’s part and parcel of enjoying myself out there.

I had two slices and a whole plate of chicken wings (a mix of buffalo and BBQ flavoured). And we had a sharer of mozzarella sticks.

I’m sure I don’t need to point out the obvious, but that’s a lot of food. It was very good though and we both enjoyed it immensely. But we were equally glad we had a 30 minutes’ walk back to the Airbnb to allow a bit of digestion and fresh air afterwards. Oof!

Of course it goes without saying I ate a lot of chicken wings.

Embarrassing really but I just fricking love them and the States do them so well. And not just your standard buffalo or BBQ fodder, but a range of flavours. While my previous favourite was the standard buffalo with a blue cheese dip (it has to have the dip), my new favourite is Garlic Parmesan butter. Hold. The. Boat. It was so good. No sauce needed, dripping in buttery cheesy goodness. Heavenly.

And I have no shame in admitting that I found this out when we ordered Uber Eats to the Airbnb and had an easy lazy dinner in. Out of a polystyrene box, it rocked my world. I’m not a posh person, I have no food snobbery, and I will happily enjoy it.

A mix of BBQ and Garlic Paremsan cheese

I did eat more colourful food during my time abroad of course. I had a very tasty “bowl” from Chipotle as an easy quick lunch. Tho the length of time it took to order and get it really questions how much of a fast food this really was…and it wasn’t cheap. I did double up on meat and add guacamole but seriously it came to over $10!

And on the same Mexican note, we had a lovely Mexican street food style lunch in a lovely little spot in Little Italy called Chilango. I had a steak rice bowl with lots of salad and salsa.

The post marathon lunch was of course epic as well. We walked the not-very-far way back to our apartment, I showered (best shower of my life, it always is after a marathon) and then stumbled into the very close Bar Louie and proceeded to order far too much food, of which we of course ate most of.

Pulled chicken nachos to share, chicken wings and pork “wings” (kind of ribs on a stick) for me, Pretzels and a burger for Kyle. The waitress was impressed.

The nachos were incredible. I think Kyle humoured me by agreeing to order them because he only had a few while I hoovered them up like nobody’s business. The wings were good and the pork was delicious.

I mean, it all tasted like I’d just run 26.2 miles and there is no better seasoning than that! (Edit: you don’t have to run a marathon to eat all this. I have eaten like this many times and not run a marathon, but the fact you are so hungry and your muscles are so tired and in need of a refuel makes it taste that much more satisfying).

We tried many treats throughout our holiday too like cinnamon sugar pretzel bites at the Navy Pier.

We had Insomnia cookies after we visited the Lincoln Zoo. We loved how they also sell milk along side them and that the cookies were WARM.

And of course fro-yo as a mid-afternoon snack… with all the toppings.

Chicago was a fantastic place to mosey around, shop and enjoy the sights.

I think I enjoyed it a bit more than New York because it felt less hectic, less busy, less noisy and dirty. The weather was cold and sunny, and of course windy. We were lucky to have one rain day at the start but the rest was beautiful.

And to take home (and one evening’s snack of choice) I bought far too many M&M’s.

The different flavours were amazing! White Chocolate Peanut?! Almonds! Pretzels! Ahh it was such a good haul. Now just to pace myself with them…

What do you love eating in America?

Are there any foods you just have to try when on holiday?

Are you a sweet or savoury person? I used to think I was definitely sweet but I think I’m steering closer to savoury (though of course cake is always a winner for me).

What I’m Loving Lately – August

August has come and gone. I’ve realised that I’m totally ready to say goodbye to hot weather. I much prefer cooler weather. So bring on autumn!

This “what I’m loving” post is going to be heavily food-related but hey they’re the best right?

Have you seen the new White Giant Buttons from Cadbury?? They only sell them at Asda so when my dad was there the other day I panic text him to buy me some.

They are SO good. Do you remember how tasty the Milky Bar was before it changed its recipe? Well it’s like that. Creamy, slightly custardy and so moreish. I could easily eat an entire packet.

They also sell the white chocolate bar but I haven’t found it yet (apparently it’s even better than the old school Dream was).

And following that, I’m also loving the Tony’s Chocolonely.

I tried the pretzel caramel dark chocolate bar, but there are a few others I’m keen to try too. It’s so thick!

You feel a bit like Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory eating it. And money from the sales go towards ending slavery. So you can feel good about gobbling it up.

Moving on to more savoury things. I’m still on a big carvery love right now. I think I just love that you can pile your plate high with vegetables, stuffing and gravy.

I’m a big fan of cauliflower cheese and roasted parsnips too. Yum! We had a carvery when we saw my friends in Bristol last weekend.

The cake selection was incredible too. And despite being fairly full, I couldn’t say no to a slice slab of chocolate fudge cake.

Heated up with ice cream. Omg it was DIVINE.

Last food-related item… The Good Cookie cookies. I literally ADORE these cookies. Vegan and refined sugar free, but you would never know.

So soft!! I need more of these in my life. Thank you to my lovely friend Emma for introducing them to me and then gifting me a pack. What a friend!

Now on to more things fitness. I’ve been really enjoying the stair machine. It’s better for my hamstring than the elliptical machine and I’ve become a pro at just grinding away and supplementing my running fitness with this.

I love watching the new series of Peaky Blinders while mindless stepping. Don’t get me started on Tommy Shelby… *sighs*.

I was also recently sent a pair of the OOFOS sandals to try out. As I’m back into running again these came at a perfect time.

They are so fricking soft! My feet feel so comfortable and like they’re walking on clouds in them. After a run I love slipping them on and just enjoying the bliss.

They have a footbed designed to absorb impact, cradle your arches and allow your body to move naturally (check out some science-y bits HERE). They’re apparently supposed to reduce stress and enable a more natural motion of walking. And you can really feel it. These bad boys will be joining me in Chicago for after the marathon (*touch wood* I make it to both the start and finish line!).

And that’s all folks!

How do you look after your feet post-run?

What’s your favourite part of a roast dinner?

What’s your favourite chocolate?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the OOFOS recovery sandals for free to test for my blog. All opinions are my own honest ones.**