Holiday best eats

Happy Wednesday! Are we there already? I don’t know why but I feel in quite a happy place.

I like being back in my routine as well. Sad I know but that’s me I guess!

So for this WIAW I thought I’d do a What I ate Wednesday on our holiday that I really enjoyed (and mourn over not being able to have any more). [Check out Jenn’s blog for more info on WIAW!]

Breakfast: Though I love my porridge, IHOP breakfasts in Colorado were amazing. We went there every day for breakfast. The staff were so friendly and lovely. After the first day of us saying we were on our honeymoon they remembered us and asked each day what we were up to and divulged some inside tips.

Most mornings I’d have whole-wheat toast, scrambled egg, turkey bacon and fruit. Obviously with the amazingness that is sugar-free syrup.

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But then on a day when I knew we wouldn’t be having lunch until a lot later, I went for something a bit more extravagant.

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Waffles with blueberries!! Oh these were so good. I want a waffle-maker now. I don’t care that we don’t have the space in our teeny tiny kitchen. I want one.

So breakfast was pretty damn tasty. And refills on coffee. Heaven. Now, I think it’s only right that I share what Ben ate as well…purely for comparison purposes…

Ben Breakfast Colorado

Yep, both those plates are his. He loved it. Apparently the crêpes were his pudding.

For lunch one day we went to a great Mediterranean restaurant (also in Colorado) called Café Caspian. Normally once a day we’d have a big meal where we’d have a starter and a main and usually that was dinner, but when we checked the menu out we knew we just had to have the sharing meze platter to start.

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[Sorry for the bad photo. The lighting wasn’t the best!]

Honestly, this was epic. Hummus, sundried tomatoes, vine leaves stuffed with some crazily yummy rice concoction, olives, falafels… The only problem was that it was huge and I still had a main course to go. So we had to be selective and couldn’t possibly eat it all. So good though.

Then for main I’d gone for a salad (which after that beast of a starter I was quite relieved).

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But still it was a monster! Avocado, chicken, feta, almonds, olives…all my protein in one meal basically. Honestly, I wish I could eat this every day.

Dinner: But the absolute best place we ate was in Orlando – so good we went there twice. Seasons 52.

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When they seated us they asked us where we were from because of our accents and if it was a special occasion. We said it was our honeymoon. Then the waiter brought us champagne!!

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So lovely (notice how quickly Ben’s disappeared haha). And the menu was fantastic. I literally could have had anything off of it. The specials change every week due to the changing seasons (hence the name), which is brilliant! For starter I had a chicken skewer with apple slaw:

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It was huge though – honestly, is that a starter?? I was full when I’d finished that (too good to leave any).

For main I’d chosen a vegetarian selection platter:

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How amazing does that look? There were roasted sprouts, a stuffed pepper, marinated tofu, roasted butternut squash, a wholemeal tortilla with black beans and guacamole…etc. Presentation alone ranks this high up on my list of amazing dinners. I almost (almost) regretted having a starter. I tried to eat as much of everything as I could but I’m sad to say I couldn’t eat it all – honestly, I’d give a prize to anyone who could eat both that starter and the main with no issues!

And how can you say no to pudding when the waiter brings out a selection tray to show you, despite saying “Oh no I’m waaay too full”??

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And they’re only ever so tiny… This delectable delight was pumpkin pie with a ginger snap crust. Perfectly in season, wouldn’t you agree?

Needless to say I was STUFFED. Alongside my meal I’d decided to treat myself to a cocktail (because I had all that spare space to fill, you know). I went for a Superfruit Martini (Veev Açai Spirit, Pom pomegranate-blueberry juice with organic agave nectar). Seriously, that sounds like an Anna drink.

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The waiter even left the cocktail shaker for me to top it up with the ‘left-overs’. I was so excited. I took a sip and almost died. I have literally never tasted anything worse in my life. It was like nail polish remover. I tried to get Ben to drink it but even he wouldn’t have it. I started to panic. The waiter had made such a song and dance about it and I had acted so excited. I just couldn’t drink it though. I thought about pouring it inconspicuously into my water but Ben forbade me (yep, forbade). So after panicking and faffing I thought I’d just tell the waiter it wasn’t my thing and apologise (I know this sounds ridiculous but the waiter had just been so lovely the whole night and was so pleased with my selection). Anyway while I was faffing, the waiter popped over quickly and said “How’s the cocktail?” and I just automatically said “Oh yes it’s lovely, thank you.” Ben just stared at me as if I’d gone mad. “Well there goes your plan”. Damn.

Well in the end I decided just to leave it and SAY NOTHING. I’m such a numpty! Looking back it’s funny now how much I panicked. The waiter probably wouldn’t have cared. But I didn’t want to look like an idiot and also have the risk of him saying he’d take it off the bill and get in trouble or something. It was my foolish mistake for choosing a martini. It’s not like it was going to taste like a smoothie, duh Anna.

So as you can see, the honeymoon was filled with massive amounts of food so many yummy foods. It’s definitely given me some inspiration to make some crazy recipes. Also made me realise I have irrational urge to eat waffles. All. The. Time. That’s normal right?

Fitness-wise…it’s been tough, I’m not gonna lie. 5.30am is not an Anna-friendly time to get up and run after being on a break for two weeks – though I haven’t slacked. But I have some plans on jazzing things up a bit so stay-tuned for a post coming up where I go into a bit more detail (including my up and coming half-marathon training plan).

Hope you enjoyed my holiday eats – I sure did! Smile

Holiday –part 1 (Orlando)

Hi guys! Well, I’m back to 100% Anna now. Back into the groove of work. It’s quite nice to have nothing to worry about or stress about. No more mad planning and just free weekends! It’s novel. I can get back on track with things that slid to one side this year. Like sprucing up our little home a bit as since we moved in last November we didn’t majorly deck it out with any sort of decorations. I’d like to buy some pictures and things like that to make things a bit more homey. Oh and Alfie is in a definite need of a haircut! He’s a mess.

So, I thought I’d do a recap of our holiday adventures. We spent six days in Orlando and then four days in Colorado Springs. So, here’s how Orlando went:

The taxi picked us up at 4.45am. We were half asleep as you can imagine. But by the time we got to the airport it was breakfast time (5am was breakfast time my tummy was telling me, but I waited). We treated ourselves to a Jamie Oliver breakfast:

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Check that bad boy out. Not my usual porridge – but it’s Jamie’s so what can I say! I don’t eat sausage though (worst food in any form) so Ben gladly traded it for his black pudding. Yum.

Anyway, after a very very long flight we arrived in Orlando. Groggy and tired we basically just went to bed (in our amazing three bedroom villa!) It worked out nicely because we’d gone to bed so early (Orlando time) we woke up the next day at like 5.30am and so got started straight away. To save money and time, we decided to buy a load of food from the supermarket and eat breakfast at home before dashing to a theme park (also I’m a bit sad and get very excited with foreign supermarkets so it was a win-win situation).

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Obviously I had porridge. American style! (Actually not that different from UK…) And Ben had a crazy array of cereals each day:

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Each day we zoomed off to the parks. We went to Universal Studios and Island of Adventures first.

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It was brilliant. It was fairly quiet so we got on rides very quickly. We were like kids running around with big smiles on our faces. Obviously we had to go to Jurassic Park (my all-time favourite movie – despite being terrified of velociraptors for the majority of my childhood).

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And Harry Potter world as well…

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Where we shared a BUTTERBEER!!! Pretty much heaven in a drink. I dare not to think of how bad it is for you but seriously, I need this in my life on a weekly basis:

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Divine.

Do you know what else was amazing? The sheer amount of sweets. Sweets

Hello candy-coated apples! Of simply every variety. Cue Ben holding Anna back before she spends all their money on teeth-rotting goodies. The chocolate/marshmallow/caramel/peanut butter coated apples are healthy though, right? There’s fruit in there somewhere…

For lunch we decided that it was just too hot to buy something from a vendor and sit outside eating. We went to a great restaurant (twice) on the City Walk: Emeril’s Restaurant.

Universal lunch

[Anticlockwise: Rotisserie chicken and Andouille gumbo, BBQ prawns, Salmon with stewed beans and smashed avocado, & roasted trout with artichokes and rocket]

After two days of Universal, we then went to Disney. In complete juxtaposition to Universal it was so busy! We were surprised as it’s supposed to be the quiet season right? But maybe there is no quiet time for Disney…

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We went to Hollywood Studios in the morning and then headed to Magical Kingdom for the afternoon. We got there around lunchtime and it was packed. We decided to try finding a restaurant to eat (=cooler). Epic fail.

Now, withhold your judgement please… Throughout the parks I’d been seeing people eat HUGE turkey legs. Now I’m not a massive meat eater but I had begun craving one of these bad boys to an irrational level. I just had to have one.

I’ll spare you the pictures because, people, it wasn’t pretty (good ol’ husband snapping away while I tried not to look like a savage). Despite lacking a lot of feminine grace while gnawing away on the beast, it tasted AMAZING. Out of idle curiosity I later Googled it. 1,200 CALORIES. I was aghast. Ben laughed. But what can you do? No wonder it tasted so damn good.

Disney wasn’t as good as we thought to be honest. A lot of children. A lot of Disney-obsessed people. We enjoyed it, but it didn’t rock our world like Universal.

The next day was spent in Busch Gardens which was EMPTY. We went on everything and even got on the front of the roller coasters quite a lot. It was good fun. Lots of animals as well!

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We grabbed lunch while watching some crazy dancing in one of the indoor canteens. On a similar carnivorous note to before I went for ribs with a side of veggies. Ribs are a bit of my devil food. I LOVE them but I try not to eat them too often as they’re usually always coated in that delicious BBQ sauce which probably has about 5 tbs of sugar in it. But hey, it’s holiday, and they were the speciality. Would be rude not to…

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[Apologies if I’m offending any vegetarians/vegans – sometimes I just can’t control the beast within]

We did manage some slightly less rich food by eating in the villa (and saving us some money) and trying out some more local restaurants and enjoying their salads.

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[Chicken, avocado, lots of fruit and seeds. Yum!]

And between parks and rollercoasters we enjoyed the pool.

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Though it was verrrry chilly. But nice and refreshing after all the humidity and heat.

We spent one day away from the main tourist area and looked around Winter Park which is a very beautiful area with nice eating spots and coffee shops. It was nice to take a moment out!

All in all, Orlando was amazing. We went on every ride we wanted to (some twice) and really had a great time. Having the villa was brilliant as we could just come back and have something simple to eat at home or swim in our private pool! It definitely saved us some money as well.

So, part two will be on our adventures in Colorado. Horse riding, bike riding and lots of mountains!

Hello Reality

Hello! I’m going to do a couple of recaps of the holiday as well but I need a bit more time as it requires sorting through hundreds of photos (yep, I got that holiday feeling of MUST TAKE A PHOTO OF EVERYTHING). So please stay tuned, I hope to have the first one rocked out by the weekend Smile

As jet-lag goes, it didn’t affect me too bad. I fell asleep stupidly early Sunday and Monday night and now I’m back into the rhythm of UK bedtimes and mornings. Though it was a horrific shock of the alarm going off a 5.30am Wednesday to get me up for my first run post-holiday. Though we did get up relatively early during our holiday (I think the latest we stayed in bed was 8am) it was still horrible. No consolation of  IHOP for breakfast or roller-coasters in a few hours. Nope, just the cold dark British weather and slug-dodging. Anyway, it was tough (to be expected I suppose). I like to think we didn’t massively indulge on the holiday and we kept fairly active. But it was still tough.

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Just over 2 miles. Not my best time. But I congratulated myself on getting out there anyway. I also did some ab work afterwards which wasn’t so tough. I guess general fitness declines quicker than muscle.

I’m thoroughly enjoying our normal meals again though. Don’t get me wrong, eating in America was AMAZING. But the portion-sizes are quite hefty and I’m a starter and a main girl so it was heavy going. Oh, here’s a question for any Americans out there, why do the waiters/waitresses bring out the main meal when you’re still eating your starter?? We were quite baffled.

And the sweets….and FRO-YO. Seriously, Britain, get your act together. We don’t have enough fro-yo places around.

Fro yo love

Yogilove…self-serve. Disaster. Eyes waaay to big for the stomach (toppings including). Not that I left any! Pinkberry was definitely the best though. So creamy.

You get that holiday feeling of “I’ll never get to eat this again!”. So as you can imagine, by the end of the holiday we had over-dosed a bit on food and eating out. I just wanted some normal Anna-friendly food. Also, I think I’ll definitely be holding back on Diet Coke for a bit – free refills!! Monster glasses. Heaven.Black-eyed pea

Anyway, so eating our normal meals (easy salads, chicken with roasted veg, omelettes) is great. Though one thing that I will try and continue that I picked up from America is drinking Bud Light. I’m not a beer drinker but I tried some of Ben’s and it was so refreshing! Definitely be on the look out for that.

So in the spirit of a new era (sort of), I’ve signed up to the Reading Half-Marathon! It’s in March so ages away to worry about just yet. But it’s something I can now work towards and dread look forward to. And I’ve signed up to Pilates on Saturday mornings! I get a one-to-one session to begin with (in a couple of weeks time) and then I get to join the ‘proper’ group. I’m so excited. Things are a-changing! Well, they’re mildly different.

Hope you’re having a good day! Bit of rambling post I’m afraid.

How do you recover from a holiday?

WIAW Wedding Special

Hello! Well, I definitely feel a bit more human and recovered now. Still tired and not at all happy to be back at work, but such is life! It’s not that bad actually, I love my job. It’s just, seriously, I fee like I need another holiday to recover!

I thought in the spirit of WIAW, I would do a post about my wedding day. (Thank you Jenn for hosting WIAW once again). So let’s get started.

 

The Wedding Day: I was so worried I wasn’t going to sleep the night before the wedding, but it wasn’t too bad actually. Which was a relief as it was such a long day! Now, I know this sounds mental, but I set my alarm for 6am and went for a run in the morning. My whole family thought I was mad doing it but it was something special to me that I wanted to do. I knew the whole day would be crazy and I wouldn’t get a minute alone (quite rightly) so I thought if I went for a run then I’d get some piece of mind and just some time for me – does that make sense? It was such a good run. I felt so excited the whole time and my tummy was filled with butterflies. I hadn’t set myself any targets or speed to hit, I just told myself I wanted to get to the beach and just enjoy the run. I got to the beach just as the sun began to rise.

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It was perfect. I just felt so light and care-free and happy. In the end I ran 5.5miles at a pretty good pace and just felt exhilarated

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Then the getting ready process began. After showering, my mum, my sister and Ellie (her daughter) headed to the hairdressers.

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We spent a fair amount of time there! My veil was so long I had to put it in a bag to take it back home as it was nestled securely in my hair and couldn’t be removed and we didn’t want it to drag on the floor.

Then we got back and I had breakfast: porridge. Nothing fancy. Nothing different. Just something I love to keep my energy up for a very hectic day.

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I had a mini panic at home when I was doing my make-up. I managed to get foundation on my veil! Honestly, only I could do this. Then ensued my mum and sister repeatedly trying to reassure me that they couldn’t see it. I wasn’t convinced. Then I got into my dress. Such a simple sentence. Let me tell you, not an easy thing. What with my make-up on, my veil and my hair it was a nightmare. My sister suggested I step into the dress. Failure. Next attempt was me going up through the dress. Failure. My arm got stuck and I stood there in my heels and underwear half in the dress with one arm in the air with my sister laughing at me. I’m sure it was hilarious to see… Finally we managed to get me into it (with the help of a few other family members to tie and tighten the corset). Whew.

Then we were almost good to go.

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The journey to the church was so nerve-wracking. My dad was nervous, I was nervous. But we got there on time and then my legs starting shaking. Actually shaking. Walking down the aisle was surreal. I just wanted to look at everyone and then right at the end looked at Ben and he just had this huge grin. I got to the alter and he could see how nervous I was and grabbed my hand to reassure me. Then my legs stopped shaking.

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Then all I remember are lots of photos. Lots of congratulations. Lots of hugging. A lot of love basically. Then we were rushed off to the reception venue.

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Then what seemed like two minutes later we had the receiving line where you literally have 30 seconds to speak to everyone individually. Then after everyone had taken their seat we were called into the room as Mr Smith and Mrs Smith-James!

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This is the view from the top table of the room.

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Then a sneaky one of the two of us in the mirror behind the table. The speeches were brilliant. Hideously embarrassing one from my dad (as expected I suppose) but very heart-felt as well. He even arranged for an apple to be brought out to me as it’s fairly common knowledge of my love for apples…

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Ben’s speech was very touching and lovely. I got all tearful! And then the best man…well it was legendary. Absolutely hilarious. He started the speech by telling Ben to put his hand on mine. And then finished by saying “And Ben, that’s the last time you’ll ever have the upper hand now”.

Lunch: it was 5pm by the time lunch (dinner? Wedding breakfast?) was served. I hadn’t even realised how hungry I was at this point! It was crazy.

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The starter was melon with a kiwi dressing. This was lovely but complete awoke my hunger.

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Dinner was garlic jus chicken with roasted vegetables and roast potatoes. It was yummy and very filling.

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Dessert was apple meringue. And it was SO GOOD. I could eat this every day. We chose that dessert because I love apples (obviously) and Ben’s a meringue monster so it seemed fitting.

And obviously there was cake later.

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The bottom layer was lemon sponge, the middle was vanilla and the top was fruit. We chose this cake because I am literally the most clumsy person in the world and it just seemed perfect. We kept it a surprise from everyone so it was brilliant to see their faces.

We had way too much cake though (is that an issue…?) so the day after the wedding we sliced and diced the left-overs of the lemon and vanilla layers and put them in the freezer.

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Just a little bit left over… We still have the top tier for us to keep as well which will last for years. So pretty much cake all year round, woohoo!

And let’s not forget the sweet buffet! I was paranoid that the venue wouldn’t put everything out right. When we dropped the stuff off to them the day before they just took it and said they didn’t need instructions but I massively panicked that it would look awful. So I sent them an email with a photo of how it should be arranged etc. When we got to the venue on the wedding day my dad hurried over to my and said “Anna, don’t worry. It’s all set up perfectly. They even had your picture printed!” I like to think that was my one and only bridezilla moment…

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Sorry for the poor photo! By the end of the night it was pretty much all gone! And everyone said how much they loved it. Oh I was so pleased Smile

And then we partied the night away! We had a band who were excellent and I’d made a playlist for after and it was brilliant. Honestly, I’ve never had so much fun. Everyone I knew and loved was there and it was just perfect. Everyone looked like they were having a great time and we just didn’t want it to end (well my feet did!). Ben and I managed to disappear from it all for a bit just to catch up with each other and catch our breath. I got some random photos of us as well.

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There was a buffet later for our evening guests but I was so stuffed from the meal and, er, maybe the 3 bits of cake I’d eaten (and let’s not talk about my visits to the sweet buffet) that I didn’t have any and forgot to take a photo of it!

After dancing late into the evening, we decided to call it a night. A lot of my family were staying in the hotel as well which was nice. So we got to see a lot of people in the morning. Everyone was feeling a bit tender and it was absolutely chucking it down with rain. We were so lucky with our weather!

Anyway, sorry to have rambled. In a nutshell? Best. Day. Ever.

Happy WIAW!

Sweet Sunday and WIAW

So last post I mentioned that I had very busy Saturday with lots of wedding arrangements and having lunch out with my mum and sister. Sunday was equally busy as well. We had our ceremony rehearsal at the church in the morning after the Sunday service, and all the ‘main players’ (ushers, bridesmaids, etc.) met us there and we had a dry run-through.

It was quite surreal and we joked all the way through it. Like my dad and me did a funny walk together up the aisle. People objecting to our marriage. Then when Ben was repeating his vows I kept winking at him or pulling faces so he kept laughing. It was very funny and the vicar joined in as well. It made things a lot less scary!

Then from there we went straight to our reception venue to go through the final details and timings. So I feel a lot more ready now. I know what’s going on and that everything is pretty much sorted.

Then came the fun part of the day; buying our sweets for our candy buffet. We looked in old vintage-style sweet shops but it was all a but too expensive (but I enjoyed looking anyway – anyone else get excited by things like that??)

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So then we went to more cheap shops to get better value for our money.

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And we bought just a few things…

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Hehe. Yum!

And then it was a case of deciding which jars which sweets would go into.

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This was fairly difficult as I didn’t want to open any sweets yet so they would keep fresh for as long as possible…so it might need tweaking on Friday when I’m sorting out last minute details.

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The doilies are great! I love the vintage look. And the paper plates will be for cupcakes that my friend is baking me for the day.

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So it’s going to be a plethora of sweet goodies…I’m so pleased with how it’s turning out! I’m absolutely the least creative person, so this is pretty good for me. I got all the jars from charity shops so the costs have been kept down.

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And I’m chuffed with the table favours too. I bought the paper bags from Amazon for like next to nothing and got some ribbon from Hobbycraft. Each table has a sweet name (like Jelly Babies or Liquorice Allsorts) and then each person on that table gets a bag full of that sweet. Top table gets a mixture of everything (win!).

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So that was Sunday! Now on to WIAW. Thank you Jenn for hosting as always. Check out her blog to view what other bloggers have been eating (all very interesting!!)

 

As always, I’ll show you a bit of a mix of meals as Wednesday isn’t usually that exciting in terms of meals…

Breakfast is usually the same every day (apart from random pancake days!):

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I mix about 1/2 cup of oats with 1tsp of wheatgrass and a sprinkle of ground flaxseed (a new addition!) and then unsweetened almond milk. Nuke in the microwave for 3.30 mins (stirring half-way) and it’s good to go!

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Fills me up really well until lunch time (which is like a good 4.5 hours later!).

Then lunchtime [at work I usually have a tuna salad or homemade veggie chilli that I batch make at the weekends]. But I’ll show you a lunch I had at the weekend which rocked my world. Home-made hummus:

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Chickpeas, lots of herbs (mixed and coriander), lots of minced garlic, lemon juice and a big dollop of tahini paste.

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Then whizzed up in a food processor.

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I had this with salad, chicken and one of my new favourite chutneys (Cheeky Monkey – banana chutney!)

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Lovely. Really sweet and flavoursome, which complimented the hummus perfectly!

Dinner (from Friday night) was hands down the best meal of the week! Cauliflower pizza. The base was made with grated cauliflower, one egg and a big blob of goat’s cheese. I baked this for a few minutes, then added a tomato base…

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Then I threw on lots of toppings (more goat’s cheese, chicken, mushrooms & courgette) and baked for about 8 mins.

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Doesn’t look like pizza, granted (except that it’s round) but it tasted gooood and I was stuffed.

Snacks…well I thought I’d show you my every day dessert after dinner:

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Two chopped apples (always chopped, never whole).

With the wedding coming up I’ve not been that adventurous with my cooking (there are quite a lot of repeat offenders) but during my honeymoon I hope to have some very exciting eats!!

Workouts have been fairly standard. I did manage a quick interval run on Sunday (2 miles) despite not thinking I’d get anything in. And then yesterday I ran another 2 miles and did some core workout. I can now hold a plank for 3 mins, woohoo! Abs of steel! *Cough* Well, moderately firm.

And outfit of the day [dress from Warehouse]:

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Important meeting in London today, so the smart dress is out in full force!

Happy WIAW all! Happy eating [and viewing]!