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?

Postpartum nutrition – all the good stuff

Finding the time to blog is becoming somewhat tricky (as you can imagine with a brand new baby), but I want to continue to write as I find it very cathartic and I also want to document memories of this crazy time.

Isaac is now 4.5 weeks old and honestly I can’t imagine life without him right now… and I also can’t imagine what over 6 hours of sleep feels like either! I always knew that having a baby would mean sleepless nights and an abundance of chaos… but actually living through it is something else I tell you.

That said, maternity leave is lovely. Amongst the crazy tiredness and constantly being on my toes looking after the little man, I do get to spend lots of time with family and friends doing fun things like going for walks, coffee and lunch.

It really is quite fabulous. My mum has two days off a week and Kyle’s mum doesn’t work Fridays so I get to see them a lot, which of course they love because they adore being grandmas.

My mum and I went to the Parade Tearooms and I had my favourite Jayne Salad followed by cake

Spending time with Isaac as a grandma must be amazing – you get all the fun without the hard sleepless night, eh!

So my week is very different to before, obviously. No work emails, no meetings – which is wonderful. But confusion, anxiety, stress and tiredness in abundance. Not exactly a holiday but not exactly like being in a proper job either. Very odd.

One of our many cake and coffee trips

The two weeks that Kyle was able to have as paternity leave was really lovely. Obviously it was hard and we were like deer in the headlights, Googling everything, ringing parents every hour asking questions and just wondering what the hell we’d gotten ourselves into it. But we also got to spend quality time as a threesome (well foursome with Alfie).

Kyle and I managed to get to 7Bone with Isaac which was fabulous

And I won’t lie, I’ve been having some fantastic meals and food lately, which honestly is quite surprising. I was told I wouldn’t have any time for myself to make sure there were lots of meals in the freezer.  I mean, I did prepare well and we do have a lot of food ready to go in the freezer but with all the meals out and people coming over bringing food and wanting to cook for us, we haven’t been starving!

Recent trip to Breezes for brunch

But amongst all the cake, doughnuts and lunches out I have been watching my nutrition carefully as I’m breastfeeding. While I know I need to be upping my calories to keep my supply decent, I also want to make sure the calories I’m eating are of a good quality as well. I mean cake IS good but it’s not the most nutritiously dense!

One of my favourites: Bakewell atrt

Handily I was recently sent some protein powder and collagen powder to try out from Naked Nutrition. And I’ve been making some mean smoothies to get some fast and tasty nutrition in me fast. It’s not always possible to grab the healthiest snacks on the go but having a smoothie is perfect.

I really like these products because they’re not full of any unnecessary nasties. I tried the Naked Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder and add it to my porridge in a morning and my smoothie in the afternoon. It’s made from whey source from grass-fed cows raised without growth hormones like rBGH or rBST. Each serving contains 25 grams of protein and 5.9 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). There are no additives or artificial sweeteners. Perfect!

The Naked Collagan Powder also has a similar “clean” profile, with no added nasties. It’s also flavourless so easy to add to anything like porridge or even soup. And each serving has 9 grams of protein and only 35 calories.

My smoothie recipe:

  1. One scoop of Naked chocolate protein powder
  2. One sachet of collagen powder
  3. A handful of spinach
  4. One frozen banana
  5. Handful of frozen blueberries
  6. Soya milk (or any milk you fancy)
While breastfeeding, smoothies are so easy to drink!

It’s delicious, filling and packed full of good stuff! Protein is so important in general to keep your muscles strong and your body healthy, and while I’m not training per se I am breastfeeding and it’s still super important to keep my protein solid. And collagen powder is SO good for you in terms of your hair, nails and bones. I’m giving so much physically and mentally to Isaac that it’s so handy to throw a smoothie together with all this good stuff to keep me healthy so I can keep Isaac healthy.

So in terms of food and nutrition I’ve been doing evry well. Just got to get my sleep as good eh? 😉

Do you like smoothies?

Have you ever had collagen?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the products for free in return for a blog review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

39 weeks pregnant

So the week leading up to my due date (7th July).

It’s mad how quickly this has all gone… and yet now how slowly it feels like it’s crawling by. I suppose that’s to be expected – everyone says it happens. You have this date set for you and you just look ahead to it all the time. Everyone asks and you count the weeks and the days… and then it comes and the likelihood is nothing happens (for your first baby at least). But hey ho, it is what it is.

This week has been really good. I managed to run 4 times (5k each time) and weirdly have felt quite good and semi-speedy on these runs.

I still wouldn’t manage any further than 5k I think as the pressure on my ligaments and pelvis gets a bit much but otherwise I feel great.

In general I feel pretty good. My sleep had been a bit better. Less waking up in the early hours of the morning wondering why I’m not asleep. I’ve managed to fall back asleep when I’ve woken up. I’ve felt well rested. My body in general feels fairly comfortable. No major aches, no issues… I’ve been very, very lucky I know. And my anticipation for the baby to arrive is purely because I want to meet him sooner rather than feeling fed up of still being pregnant. It’s also not as hot as it’s been so comfort levels are fine currently.

Kyle set up the birthing pool which we’ve hired so that’s ready to go. We’re planning a home birth so this is rather exciting. Of course I’m well aware things could change and we could end up at hospital for a multitude of reasons but our plan is to stay at home if we can. So fingers crossed!

I’ve been eating all the dates every day (apparently supposed to help with labour, who knows!), drinking red raspberry leaf tea (to help naturally induce labour, again who knows!), walking lots and bouncing on a birthing ball. But we’re prepared. We have everything ready. We just need a baby now 😉

OK some chocolate covered dates too!

At the weekend we had a rather busy one with heading to Reading for my lovely friend Emma’s birthday party. My parents kindly offered to drive because they were concerned being so close to my due date that if something were to happen I wouldn’t be able to drive that distance back (hour and 45 minutes). Kyle can ride a motorbike but he can’t drive at the moment (he was planning too but lockdown and COVID scuppered that a bit). My parents had towels laid down and everything bless them.

Emma’s party was lovely. It was in her garden and it was just so lovely to see her in the flesh. We talk every week but it’s nice to finally see someone properly. Her mum and her did an INCREDIBLE food spread.

I mean it was insane. All the cheese, deli meats and salad bits with her incredible homemade sourdough bread. I was in heaven. Not a sausage roll in sight!

And her vegan chocolate cake was INSANE. It was like the chocolate cake from Matilda – dense, moreish and so tasty.

And Alfie joined too

It was such a lovely afternoon catching up and enjoying the sporadic British summertime.

On the Sunday Kyle and I had lunch with my parents at the Osborne View, a lovely coastal pub near to them. The last time we’d been we were sat outside under an open marquee so it was so nice to be actually inside. It felt like normal!

Kyle and I shared a baked camembert to start and then I had their super tasty Caesar salad for main.

It was lovely! Potentially one of the last times of us eating out without a baby – who knows!

So for now I’ll keep waiting. I’m now on maternity leave from work which is bitter sweet. I had planned to work until I pop but due to a HR misunderstanding they put until my due date and now payroll and HMRC are all sorted I can’t change it apparently. But I think this is probably for the best as I can de-stress and properly relax. For how long, who knows eh!

What’s your favourite salad?

What’s your favourite cheese? I bloody love Camembert. But to be honest, there are so many cheeses I love.

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?