Yoga, food and a buff review

The day after the Hackney Half Marathon my legs felt surprisingly OK. I had a strong sense of tiredness and runger which followed me through the day but it was no different really than how I’ve felt any Monday morning after doing a long run on the Sunday.

This is good news! I still took Monday off as a complete rest day though. Let’s not risk anything. I gave Alfie a lovely walk in our local field in the morning before work and in the evening too.

IMG_0360 It’s lovely to see him racing around while I can just walk around the field and listen to the radio (I feel old because I now listen to BBC5 Live in the morning – I like keeping up to date with the news and opinions). There’re always the regular dog walkers which is nice as well.

That evening I had a really tasty Hello Fresh meal of quinoa, lentils, feta and chorizo. It did take a while to make (about 30 mins) and created a lot of washing up but the results were fantastic.

Quinoa, feta and chorizo

Basically it involved cooking the quinoa separately in vegetable stock while frying onions, chorizo and diced peppers and tomatoes. Add pre-cooked lentils (from a tin) and the quinoa with chopped coriander and crumbled feta. Done! It’s the prep that’s the laborious part really.

The next morning I got up at 5am for my usual strength training at the gym. All, except the press-ups, I use weights for these moves:

  • Squats
  • Romanian deadlifts
  • Cross body chop with dumbbell
  • Walking lunges
  • Single leg deadlifts
  • Single leg squats
  • Hot salsa
  • Russian twists
  • Press-ups

I go twice a week now and it’s far more manageable (my second session is more plyometric-based – box jumps, lunge jumps, etc.). I still think it’s important I keep maintaining my strength. To be honest I find it so hard to motivate myself to go (it’s not running is it!) but the fear of injury gets me up in the morning. And strength I’ve found is like most things, you have to consistently do otherwise you’ll lose it.

Tuesday evening I went for an easy run with the running club. I haven’t been to training in ages and it felt good to be back. Though I’m still cautious about it as I want to stick to my (vague) training plan. Otherwise I know I’d happily run silly miles at a silly pace if I went every week and I need to be sensible. After the marathon I’ll be back regularly!

I ran with Mike and Mark and a few others who didn’t want to do the planned hill session that the other guys were doing (hills were not going to happen for me!) and it was lovely. We chatted the whole time and just took things slow – though probably not as slow as we should have but my HR was low and the effort was easy so I was happy. In the end we got 5.5 miles in and I barely felt out of breath.

My running club have started running-focused yoga and Pilates sessions so a few weeks ago I booked myself in for a yoga session after the run as I thought after Hackney it would be ideal. I quickly changed into leggings and got my mat and was good to go. I’ve done yoga before so it was very familiar to me and I felt (for once!) one of the most experience yogis in the room as the majority were all beginners.


In my other yoga classes I’ve been to I was always one of the newbies so this was a nice change for the books! It felt blissful after running as well.

But it did mean that it was past 9pm when I got home and I hadn’t had dinner yet – no chance of that before running when I get home at 6pm, have to walk Alfie and be ready to run at 6.45pm. I inhaled my dinner and wasn’t in bed until 11pm. This is a seriously late night for me considering I’m normally asleep by 10pm!! Luckily dinner was already cooked as I had made two portions of the quinoa meal the day before. It was just a case of reheating and shovelling in.

I must say that as good as I felt after yoga and my run on Tuesday night, I woke up Wednesday with really aching glutes and hamstrings. I’m pretty certain this is from my gym session and not the run! But luckily I’d planned another rest day and some foam rolling in the evening. Then intervals in the morning (which were tough I must say!).

On to a little review…I was kindly sent two buffs from the kind people at One buff for me and one buff for Alfie, my dog. Alfie felt very chuffed to be included in a review for once 😉

High UV Protection BUFF® (find HERE)

KitShack UV BuffMy buff was from the High UV Protection range that they have. It’s interesting because my first thoughts about wearing buffs are that they are just for winter and to keep you warm. But these buffs are more to protect you from the sun, which is fantastic.

It’s made with a wicking fabric which helps suck the moisture away from your skin quickly. It can be worn as a neckerchief, headband, wristband, mask, hair-band, balaclava, scarf, scrunchie, saharaine, pirate cap, beanie or bandana…personally I like the sound of the pirate cap 😉 It’s also treated with Polygiene so will remain fresh as the silver ions prevent the build up of bacteria in the fabric. There are also no seams or hems to irritate your skin. And it has the UV protection obviously.

KitShack Buff

Thoughts? I love the colour! They have a whole range of different patterns and colours which is great if you like matching things, like me. Initially I was confused what to do with it and how to wear it but it was fun to experiment. The video HERE’s is definitely worth a watch as honestly I wouldn’t have had a clue otherwise and there are so many different ways to wear it – it’s very multi-functional. For example…

  • Cycling – use over your mouth if it’s cold or there’s lots of pollution, or under your helmet.
  • Running – use it like a scarf it’s cold or as a sweat band.
  • Long walks – protects my scalp from burning.

It’s very soft and comfy to wear and I quite like wearing it as a headband to keep my hair out of my eyes. I’d probably wear it more often in the winter for running and more as a headband when walking or going to the gym.

IMG_0601Terrible photo but it was the best angle I could do I’m afraid!

Don’t wear it like this though unless you’re hiding from someone:

IMG_0602 Having fun while trying the different ways to wear it

Dog BUFF® 


I’m sorry but this just tickled me that Alfie could wear one of these too – how cute. They have a range of coloured patterns and are available in two sizes: standard (which fits most medium to larger breeds) and small (for terriers and smaller dogs like Alfie).

Dog buffIt has a handy Scotchlight reflective strip which offers retro-reflective visibility from a distance of 150 metres and is made from the same stretchy material as the, er, human buffs.

Dog Buff As happy as Alfie was to be part of this review, he’s not very good at staying still for a photo!!

Thoughts? Alfie thought he looked cool in it 😉 I quite like that it has the reflective bit so in dark evenings or mornings he’d be easier to spot – and to be honest the colour makes him easier to spot as well when he’s off his lead. I’m not sure how comfortable he’d be with it over his head though like in the picture below.

Dog Buff (2)

All in all I am a fan of the buffs! They look cool, they’re multi-functional and Alfie and me can match 😉

Have you ever worn a buff to run/walk/cycle in?

Do you do yoga or Pilates?

How much effort do you spend on your evening meal?

**Full Disclosure: I was sent the buffs for free to review. All opinions are Alfie’s and my own.**

Christmas Stollen and Body Glide

Woohooo it’s almost Christmas!

Tomorrow Ben and me (with Alfie in tow) will be picking up Ben’s mum and driving the 15 minutes to my parent’s house mid-morning to celebrate the day-long eating extravaganza otherwise known as Christmas. I’ve been put in charge of vegetables (clearly my speciality) so I’ll be carting honey-marinating carrots and parsnips as well as Brussels’ sprouts, broad beans (OK, not entirely a Christmas thing but they’re my favourite veg and I’m in charge sooo…) and some vegetarian stuffing (Ben’s mum and me prefer the non-sausage mix stuff). All good in the hood.

We’ll also be taking the freshly iced Christmas cake…da da!

IMG_8870We used royal icing and just kind of swirled it on. We bought the snowmen to decorate. We’re not brilliant at decorating as you can probably tell…

And the stollen was made pretty much by Ben while I hovered about sneaking samples.

IMG_8873My German friend’s mum’s kindly gave me her stollen recipe as we had some of hers freshly baked when we were over in Berlin recently and it rocked my world. Well anything does that has marzipan in to be fair but this was especially good. We wanted a fruitless stollen to bring as my dad can’t have the Christmas cake because he can’t eat dried fruit (or rather, as he so delightfully puts it, it “goes straight through him”).

Here’s the Stollen recipe (all credit to Charlotte’s mum) if you’re interested:


  • 500g plain flour (we had to sub for wholemeal as we didn’t have plain, whoops) 
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150g soft margarine
  • 250g quark
  • 100g chopped almonds
  • 200g marzipan (we might have significantly increased this to twice the amount)
  • To Dust: 30g margarine; 2 tbs. icing sugar

– Sieve flour and baking power into a bowl, add eggs, sugar, salt, margarine, almonds and quark. Knead into a soft dough and wrap in foil. Leave in fridge for 30 minutes.

– Roll out dough into a square (approx 30 x 40cm) on a sheet of lightly dusted baking paper.

– Thinly slice marzipan and lay out on the dough (alternatively sit the fat sausage-like wodge of marzipan on the dough depending how generous you were with the marzipan). Wrap the dough up from the sides to the middle and press together. Bake for 45 minutes at 175 degrees.

– Melt margarine and spread on warm Stollen and dust with icing sugar.

You can add different dried fruit or peel to the Stollen as well beforehand but like I said, we wanted ours to be more simplistic. Serve with jam, butter or cream cheese (highly recommended) or just eat plain! I think ours cracked quite a bit during baking because we used the stupid wholemeal flour but normal plain flour should be a lot better.

And lastly I have one more quick review for you. I was sent a Body Glide product from the  company to test out. Sadly I haven’t been able to test the specific product I was sent out with running but I have previously used this brand before when doing races or when it’s been particularly warm. And I have trialled out the product they sent with my new gym activities.

IMG_8871I’ve suffered many times with chafage and honest to god it’s no joke. Like blisters they are savage and can really affect how your run is going. When I wear sleeveless tops to run I really felt the chafe under my arms. Getting into the shower afterwards was beyond painful.

Arm chafe A slightly old photo of when I suffered from the dreaded chaffage

Body Glide is a company specialising in a range of anti-chafe balms to help athletes keep comfortable and avoid irritation. These particular balms are quite popular because they are non-greasy and very reliable as they can apparently survive all weather conditions. I can attest that it reliably survives a hot sunny day!

The Body Glide have a new range being introduced to the UK: 

  • Original Body Glide – the standard anti-chafe and blister balm
  • For Her – anti-chafing balm with effective skin moisturiser
  • Chamois Glide balm for cyclists
  • Foot Glide – blister resister specifically for feet.

And they do different sizes as well so you can take a little travel-sized one with you to use just before a race. I was sent the For Her product.

IMG_8872It was great – very easy to apply (like deodorant) and it wasn’t sticky or greasy. It didn’t smell of anything in particular either. It was also nice that it had a nice moisturising element to it. To be honest though, I wasn’t overly fussed about this and happily would have used the original. As long as I don’t chafe I don’t mind!

I’ve used the original body glide product before when running. I all but bathed in it before my marathons and happily had no rubbing issues during. Although I failed to realise I’d chafe on my lower back! Who’d have thought to have applied the glide there!?IMG_8158

So a big thumbs up! Anything to stop that dread burn in the shower or that horrible chaffing feeling while you’re running (and then end up running like a chicken as I had to do one race as the rubbing was so painful).

Anyway, a big merry Christmas to you all! Have a lovely day and eat lots of yummy food. I know I will be!

Do you do any Christmas-specific baking?

Do you chafe when you run? Or are prone to blisters? Nasty little buggers.

***Full Disclosure: I was sent the Body Glide product for free to review. All opinions are my own as always.***

Running, poo and a failed recipe

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m back running finally. I will hasten to add though: for how long, who knows! I’m still not entirely convinced I won’t remain injury-free. My shin issue is something I need to keep a beady eye on as I’m not sure it’s gone for good. But this is similar to my IT band where it needs to be managed, meaning regular single-leg squats and resistance band work. For my shin….I’m not so sure really. Compression socks and keeping the calves loose?

So last week I started with Kyle coaching after a bumpy delayed start due to my foot. We worked very closely to make sure everything was OK. He gave me lots of exercises and advice.

Peroneal Tendon Stretch And lots of stretching!

When I began running (last Tuesday) it was under the instruction to run 20 minutes easy and to stop if I felt any pain or major discomfort. The day before my foot was feeling almost fine so by Tuesday evening I was feeling happy to run. Apart from a little stiffness it was perfect. Again under Kyle’s instruction, I ran Wednesday and Thursday (all easy, gradually building up the time) and then took Friday off, parkrun on Saturday and 6 miles on Sunday. All easy paced and all with no foot discomfort. Hurrah!

I do struggle though with what I class an “easy” pace. I probably should run it slower, but if I’m only running a short distance then I think easy is a relative term… and I will admit I find it very hard to slow myself down. Whether it’s a mental thing that I feel I need to go faster or a physical thing where I just don’t realise I’m running faster, I find it tough for the shorter runs. For longer runs though I will be very strict with myself and aim for a slower pace, and for recovery runs after harder sessions.

I have no idea what’s to come though in terms of running as it’s out of my hands! Something which I find hugely scary and hugely relieving. It’s also nice to have someone I can hassle ask questions and get advice regularly and specifically for me and the concrete goals I want to achieve. The internet is great but it’s all very vague.

Away from running and onto things more amusing. I just have to share this book that Ben and me found in a little trinket shop.


Because really these are the big issues we face 😉 First world problems and all that… It is very amusing and definitely Ben and my type of humour (we are children). There was also “How to Poo on a Date” – I mean, really?? Plan these things, people. Maybe there should be a book “How to Poo in a Portable Loo” or a “A Guide to Pooing for Runners” judging by the horrific portable loo experience I had in Berlin.

Moving swiftly away from toilet humour to recent dinner adventures! I haven’t posted any recipes for ages as my food is very dull and samey, so thought I’d motivate myself by trying a new recipe every week. Now I will preface by this by saying this isn’t really a recipe more like a “don’t do what I did” kind of warning.

I saw the below recipe for sweet potato and halloumi burgers and thought it looked amazing. I knew I could win Ben over because it contained cheese and I mentioned the word “burger” so I felt confident.



I made the patties at the weekend and thought I’d freeze them so I could have a handy quick meal one day after work. This was a big mistake. I’d advise you not to freeze them! Maybe fridge them to firm them up for an hour but do not freeze. They just fall apart completely when you defrost them, which slightly devastated me.

Sweet potato halloumi burgers

I tried to flip each patty and, well, it just fell apart. So I just stirred the lot and cooked it as kind of a bubble and squeak *sighs*.  However, it tasted really good and even Ben was a fan. I’m sure as actual burgers these would be terrific but they are rather delicate!

Hopefully I’ll have better luck with other recipes but hey if it taste good that’s all that matters right??

Have you had any baking or cooking failures recently?

What kind of sense of humour do you have? I think mine is very dry and sarcastic – but also quite childish and silly.

What’s your favourite veggie burger flavours? I’m a big fan of sweet potato!

Foods and Alfie lately

It’s Wednesday and amazingly I’ve just got today left at work and then Ben and me have five days off. We’re heading to North Wales tomorrow to visit my grandparents again and (hopefully, weather dependent) do lots of hiking and walking.

I’ve had to shift a few runs around but I’m hoping to get my long run done tomorrow morning before we go. It’s a four hour car journey so it’ll be nice to sit and nap chill (Ben loves driving) after completing a long run. I’m hoping to do between 10-13 miles just to keep my body getting used to that distance before going any higher. Caution is my best friend right now.

I was recently giving the opportunity to review some Beet It sport products: the Pro-Elite Bar and the concentrated beetroot shot.

Beet It Sport

I haven’t used them yet as I want to save them for Berlin. Though I will test drive a few shots before my next half marathon (7th September – Pharmalink in Maidenhead). I’ve heard some really good things about the product so I’m really excited to try it out. And I love beetroot…The goodness in these products is all down to the nitrates from the beetroot which have been shown to help with stamina and performance (source; source).

I’m considering having one of the bars as breakfast before the Berlin marathon (obviously I’ll trial this first! I’m not crazy). For the Paris marathon I took the little oat pots and made it up in our hotel room with hot water…but I’m wondering if one of these bars and a banana might be more beneficial? I think I’ll test it for the Maidenhead half. I’m just worried it might not fill me up. It’s 235 calories which seems a little low for breakfast – but with a banana as well? Any advice would be welcome!

On the topic of food, I’ve been enjoying some really random but tasty meals lately.

Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash (serves one)

Sausage and sweet potato hash 

  • Small sweet potato, grated (I leave skin on)
  • Half white onion, diced
  • Couple of mushrooms, chopped
  • Half a small courgette, chopped
  • Good handful of kale
  • Two sausages, chopped into chunks
  • Large tablespoon of cream cheese
  • Spices (I used a Cajun spice mix which had a nice kick)

(I think I might have had the scrag ends of a stir fry mix in there as well – basically any sort of veg goes!)

– Fry the onion in oil (my favourite is coconut oil), then add sweet potato (add a bit of water if it starts to stick to pan) and allow to soften for about 5 minutes with occasional stirring. Then add courgettes, mushrooms and kale.

– Add the spices along with the sausages.

– When the sausages are cooked add the cream cheese, heat through and then serve!

Everything Salad (serves one hungry Anna)

Chickpea and sweet potato salad I won’t patronise you with a recipe as it’s fairly self-explanatory. In the mix is a whole lot of veg (carrots, courgette, salad leaves, beetroot, mushrooms, roasted sweet potato) and in that mound hidden away are chickpeas. And then covered in my favourite Caesar dressing of course 😉

Feta Chicken

Feta chicken meal Feta chicken is always a normal meal during the week at ours. Sometimes done in the slow cooker, sometimes just the normal oven. I’ve written the recipe before (find it HERE).

And here is Ben’s dream meal which he’d eat every night if he had the chance…

Bens Carb FestThis is actually leftovers from his pizza meal the night before. To be fair to him, he had run 18.5 miles (this was a few weeks ago…pre-injury). He ordered a large pizza, chicken dippers, garlic bread…and then consumed the leftovers (with toast of course) the next day. Jeeze. Who said runners were healthy, eh?

So like I said, we’re off to North Wales tomorrow. I’ll be saying good bye to this furry chappy tonight as he’ll be holidaying at my parent’s house while we’re away.

Dog Selfie Alfie selfie

I’ll miss him so much. Gives me hope that when I eventually have a baby it’ll be similar feeling – finger’s crossed, eh?? 😉

IMG_7618Ben’s Alfie Snapchat he sent me while I was upstairs

Hopefully my parents will send some Alfie Snapchats as he loves them so… 😉

If you get the Bank Holiday off, how are you spending long weekend?

Have you ever tried the Beet It products? Or heard about beetroot as a sports supplement?

What’s your dream meal you’d eat all the time if health didn’t matter? BBQ ribs, sweet potato fries and a whole lotta cake.

MyProtein and MyVitamin review

Happy Friday everyone. The cool people behind MyProtein and MyVitamin (The Hut Group) sent me a couple of products to review.

Before now I have never tried protein powder. To be honest, I didn’t see the point. I love my food so why on earth would I drink my meals or the extra calories I need?? Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve been tempted when I see so many protein pancake or protein cookie recipes. But again I was like “why not just have a regular pancake instead?”

So I jumped at the chance to try the whey protein power to see what the fuss was about. I chose True Whey in the Chocolate Caramel flavour. It actually took quite a while for me to choose the flavour because there were several very tasty sounding ones (like chocolate mint, strawberry delight and velvet vanilla).

From the website, it notes the key benefits as:

  • Highest quality protein source
  • New fantastic flavours
  • Includes Lactospore® and Digezyme® (aids digestion)
  • Rich in BCAA’s and Aminoacids

I must say this all sounds very foreign to me! Apparently it has the “perfect blend of the highest grade whey protein concentrate and isolate” And “contains very little fat, zero added sugars and a only small amount of carbohydrates, but it is packed with the most biological available protein available and also contains a high amount of branch-chain-amino-acids (BCAA’s).”

MyProtein Whey Protein Powder It comes with a little scoop which portions out one serving. You can mix it with water or milk. I decided to go for milk because the idea of mixing it with water didn’t really appeal to me. I tried it with both cow’s milk and almond milk. Cow’s milk worked a bit better in terms of how well it mixed. Almond milk needed a bit more stirring and still it wasn’t fully dissolved. (You can buy those shaker things which I’m sure would help, but I was mixing using a spoon).

IMG_6904 Also, the less milk you put in, the thicker it gets (like a thick milkshake). The taste is pretty good, very much like a chocolate milkshake. There is a very slight chemical taste but nothing horrendous or off-putting.

I’ve also tried blending it with frozen banana as well (Ben absolutely adores this and often has it after running).


It mixes really well in the blender

Roughly per serving it’s 98 calories (without milk) and almost 19g of protein. Needless to say that when you have one of these you feel quite full afterwards.

Clearly I’m no body builder or have huge intentions to put on a lot of muscle weight so I’m not drinking this everyday. One of the reasons I was originally put off by protein powders was just knowing when to have it – I fill my day nicely with the food I need. However, there is a key time when this is very handy. When I go to races I usually have a stupidly early breakfast, then race and then finish. The time between breakfast, finishing and then getting myself together and finding food can be quite a few hours. By the time I do find food I’ve often felt very weak. Making up a good portion of this and taking it with me would be ideal to have straight after the race to fill that gap. Especially as I never fancy anything to eat after a race, but having a drink that would keep me from feeling faint is perfect!

We also made protein pancakes using the following ingredients:

  • 40g rolled oats
  • 1 scoop of protein powder
  • 2 eggs (or 4 egg whites)
  • Dash of milk if batter is too thick

Blend all the ingredients together and then fry batches on a heated oiled frying pan. Should make three decent sized pancakes.

Protein powder pancakes We did have three but Ben ate one before we could photo all of them (*sighs*). Add lots of great toppings, like maple syrup, fruit, peanut butter, etc.

I also tried some supplements from MyVitamins. I thought considering all the running I do and how injury-prone I seem to be I’d try the Joint Plus MSM Glucosamine and Chondroitin multi-nutrient blend.

IMG_6907 Basically it’s a combination of the three “widely recognised” join care nutrients. Each capsule contains 300mg MSM, 250mg Glucosamine HCL and 200mg Chondroitin Sulphate. I take one one every day with breakfast. Finger’s crossed it’s making a difference. I don’t feel any different but I can’t imagine you would! A bit like any supplement you take I guess.

All in all, two decent products that I will continue to use!

HERE is a link to their voucher code page, full of discounts on a wide range of supplements if you’re interested 🙂

Have you tried anything from MyProtein or MyVitamin website?

Do you use protein powders?

What supplements do you take?

***I was sent these products for free to review but all opinions are my own***