Confession time

I have a confession. Actually I have a few confessions. Nothing major. I just feel the need to get it out there into the universe. Then let the universe judge me, or something or other.

I am becoming an old lady (I hasten to add that there is nothing wrong with elderly ladies, I hope to be one someday – just not at 24!) Consistently now I have started to get tired at 8.30pm. And then 9pm I’m in bed. Actually in bed, pyjamas, brushed teeth, ready for sleep in bed. Now I have every intention of having a good read of my book to chill me out. However, I begin reading and 10 minutes later I’m asleep.

And considering I don’t get in from work until 7pm, this is not very good. Ben is no longer surprised. Alfie no longer joins me as he knows lights off is quite soon.

But you know what the worst part is? I love it.

I get a full on 8 hours sleep. *Drops head in shame* I am an embarrassment to all those hip young twenty-year olds out there. Judge away. What can I say? I’m definitely a morning person. I start waking up from 5.30am onwards feeling nice and refreshed ready to hit the ground running (literally).

Next confession. Over Christmas I didn’t really go crazy on eating vast amounts of chocolate or biscuits. I just didn’t fancy it. Now January’s hit and it’s like BOOM I just can’t get enough. And all the chocolate from Bruges I got is just calling to me. And I just can’t get enough of my favourite chocolate (which I put in the fridge for that extra bite).IMG_2779

And I have since discovered the dark chocolate and mint flavour. This isn’t good people. Well, obviously it is! Winking smile

I’m fine throughout the day, it’s just when I’ve had dinner and I’m chilling on the sofa and I get that feeling. I’m sure you’ve all felt it (if you haven’t, tell me your secret!)…that “I NEED SOMETHING NOW!!” feeling. And it’s never savoury.

So most evenings I’ve been scoffing it and our supplies are dwindling…but I will be buying more. Life isn’t worth living if you deny yourself these pleasures! I just need to work out how to control the beast within.

My last confession is a dull one I’m afraid. I used to eat fish twice a week – proper oily, omega laced fish. Rainbow trout, salmon, mackerel….but now it’s somehow been forgotten. I’ve focused my energy on chicken. I’m not even sure how this even happened! So to remedy this sharply, I had sea bass.

IMG_3406 I dusted it with some ready-made seasoning (a fish-specific one) grilled it and had it alongside mashed cauliflower with goat’s cheese (heaven!), roasted root veg and my favourite veg, broad beans. What a meal! The lightness of the fish worked as there was quite a lot on my plate (maybe another confession of mine is that I’m a greedy eater – it’s all about volume with me! Stack is high and I’m good to go).

Whew, I feel better. The confessions were nothing major, I’m sure you’ll agree, but I do feel a bit lighter after holding in all of that Winking smile

What are your secret confessions?

What do you love having a naughty snack sesh on in an evening?

The in-between bit

Though it’s sad that Christmas is over, this bit between Christmas and New Year is a nice chance to relax. Last year Ben and I didn’t have it off and were both working so it’s nice to spend this time off work together. Ben’s dad went back home the day after Boxing Day so we’ve spent the time just the two of us, which has been lovely.

Though I do enjoy doing nothing, I find myself getting a bit antsy at times and wondering what to do with myself. This is usually the time I decide to organise and tidy things or drag Ben on long walks with Alfie. Though we have been watching some films together and are now half way through Homeland, which is so good!

As we had so much food left from Christmas and the Boxing Day buffet every meal has basically been using leftovers, which is brilliant!

IMG_3385

Lots of picky food! This was a few slices of ham, a couple of prawns, smoked mackerel, parsnips and carrots, stuffing, Brussels sprouts and salad. Whew! I love plates like this as I am a huge fan of variety.

IMG_3386

And this was just salad and roasted butternut squash with a huge dollop of homemade hummus and some ham. Ben’s being enjoying eating lots of sausage rolls and cocktail sausages hehe.

Unfortunately we’re pretty much finished with the leftovers now sadly. Though we still have mountains of chocolate biscuits and Christmas cake leftover. It’s all so tempting!

And I’m back into my running. After running Christmas day, I ran the day after Boxing Day and I started OK and thought I’d push myself and do 5 miles. I felt fine until I got past 3 miles and then got a seriously painful stitch which meant I had to stop running and catch my breath for a bit. Now I never stop running so this really annoyed me. I wasn’t nearly as quick as usual either. I felt so frustrated as the stitch kept coming back and I had to walk and jog home. I did manage my 5 miles but it was painful and no fun at all.

I can’t really work out what’s going on. Before I got ill I was loving running and running faster than ever. Now since getting ill it’s like I’ve gone backwards. I still have a bad cough and at the end of a run I can’t stop coughing so I’m hoping that it’s just because I’m not 100% recovered yet. I ran 3 miles yesterday and it was still tough but not nearly as bad. Well we’ll see! Sorry to  moan!

So it’s almost New Year’s eve! Normally Ben and I don’t do anything vastly interesting. But this year we’re going over to see some friends. There’s likely to be a lot of drinking and playing games which should be fun. Since my drinking adventures in Bruges I won’t be drinking a huge amount though! I just don’t want to feel so rough the next morning as it’s the day before going back to work. But I’ll have a few G&T’s I think, I mean it would be rude not to Winking smile

For Ben and me, 2012 has been a brilliant year. I started a new job in January as a business analyst and have been really enjoying the different projects I’ve been on – and got a cheeky pay rise. Ben has been doing amazingly at his job and together work-wise and progression-wise we’re very happy. We’ve enjoyed living in our little home for over a year now as well. And of course, we got married!

Wedding

It was a perfect day in every respect and if I could relive it over I definitely would a hundred times. It seems like a lifetime ago now!

And then we went on a brilliant honeymoon to Orlando and Colorado. Our first ever holiday just the two of us.Honeymoon

My sister announced she was pregnant as well so around April-May time Ellie should have a big sister too!IMG_1559

Very exciting! I can’t even  imagine having one child at the moment let alone two! She’s an amazing mum.

Throughout this year I’ve found a great love of running and improved hugely from when I first moved from the treadmill to outside (when I started my new job). I also started up my blog! I love writing it and I’m over the moon that people actually read it! So thank you, lovely readers Smile

So in terms of 2013, I only hope that things continue to go as well. I couldn’t be more happy at the moment with my life. I know I am extremely lucky to be so happy and to have everything I have and I am so grateful and thankful for all the good things in my life and the amazing family and friends that I have to support me.

So, goals for next year?

– Run a half marathon (planned for March!)

– Cook at least one new recipe every week.

– Go skiing.

– Run off road more (I would say every week but I think this might not be possible due to the weather and the mud baths that appear on the off road routes!)

– Eat less apples…

Other than that I can’t think of any more! I think they’re all do-able and not too scary.

Anyway, have a brilliant New Year’s eve and hope that your 2013 starts amazingly! See you on the other side Smile

How are you spending New Year’s Eve?

Do you set yourself goals? What are your resolutions?

Happy New Year!

Being ill and cookies to make me smile

Hi guys. I apologise in advance for this post. It’s going to be a bit of a moan and ‘woe is me’…

I have had a terrible week. I mentioned on Wednesday that I was feeling ill. Well, it only got worse. I have literally been on the sofa huddled under my slanket all week (slankets were made for ill people I swear. It’s a blanket with arms basically). My whole body has felt unbelievably achy and tired, my throat like it has been cut with knives, headaches, and I have felt sick on and off.

Sleeping has been a nightmare. Then in the morning I’d get up, force myself to shower, then get back into fresh pyjamas and recommence my sofa experience. Ben, bless him, has been looking after me between work and Alfie has kept me company in the day. The Smith-James household has not been fun place.

IMG_3325

I haven’t been eating my porridge in the morning (or anything for that matter). Food just turned my stomach. Lunch has looked like this for the past few days:

IMG_3323

Have you ever seen anything more boring?? Sweet potato and broad beans. I just have to eat the most bland food as anything else turned my stomach. My appetite has been zero.

Sorry to sound oh so depressing. I’m not very good with being ill. I’m sure a lot of you can relate that when you’re ill you feel helpless and weak. These are things that I hate feeling. I’m not one of those people that enjoys sitting down for ages and not doing anything. So when I find myself literally unable to get off the sofa to do anything it really frustrates me.

After Bruges I had all these plans of running and my strength training. So I would feel in ‘peak condition’ before Christmas. I know that sounds ridiculous but I like to run up to Christmas feeling my most healthy so I can really relax on the day. But getting up and walking to the kitchen was difficult so there was no way in hell I was running. It just wasn’t even an option. But I haven’t run since last Wednesday. For me that’s crazy! I love running and I miss it so much but I just can’t do it. It would be stupid and would feel horrific.

I don’t feel guilty for not exercising – that would be stupid as it’s completely out of my control. But I’m just terrified I’m losing everything I worked so hard to achieve. They say it takes two weeks to lose your fitness level. I know I shouldn’t care, but I don’t want to have to climb that hill again! I was doing so well with my times and speeds. If this illness and taken me back a step I’ll be so angry.

Last night the only thing I fancied for dinner that didn’t make me feel sick was pizza.

IMG_3331

Sometimes only pizza can help, you know? I just fancied something carby and easy. It was a Pizza Express Lighter Gustosa (roasted peppers, mushrooms, cheese & ham). I didn’t want a huge pizza to lay heavy on me so this was perfect. Not massively flavourful so it worked a treat.

Anyway, I’m feeling better today but I’m still suffering a little. I am however off the sofa (hurrah!). This is good news considering this weekend we need to do a lot of cleaning (The Big Pre-Christmas Clean) and marzipan the cake.

And in perfect timing, I received something very lovely in the post.

IMG_3330

I took part in Tamzin’s cookie exchange and received my cookies in this beautiful box. I was sent it by the lovely Cerian. I basically said I didn’t mind what kind of cookies she’d make – I quite like surprises!IMG_3334

She made these amazing Welsh cakes! Neither Ben nor I have had Welsh cakes before so we’re very excited to try them. They smell amazing. And there were two cheeky mince pies in there too! Thank you Cerian! Smile So this has definitely been one of the better parts of the week!

Now off to get some jobs done!

How do you cope when you’re ill?

What do you eat when you feel sick?

Running with the enemy

Hi guys, and to all those who are enjoying/have enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving, I hope you’ve had a great day!

In light of this event, I thought I’d have a think about what I’m thankful for. So I’m linking up with Jessie‘s Thankful Thursday post. Seems appropriate, even though I’m not American, to get involved!

It’s easy to dash through day-to-day life without stopping and taking stock of what you’ve got. It’s often the case that is when something happens that you realise how much you really appreciate something. For instance, you’re car breaking down. It’s an absolute nightmare situation – how do you get to work? How do you get to the shop to buy food for the week? You forget how easy a car makes your life.

Definitely my family is top of my list of what I’m thankful for. I know that whatever happens they’ll be there for me. Ben consistently supports me in anything I do and I always know he’s there if something goes wrong.

IMG_1752

The great thing about Ben is he is so selfless. He would drop anything and everything if I needed him. I can’t be thankful enough for him. He’s teaching me to be a less selfish person – it’s baby steps!

Obviously I’m also thankful for my parents and close family. I’ve been extremely lucky to have had a great childhood and a good upbringing.

IMG_1737

Both my sister and me are polite and well-educated and this is largely due to my parents hard work with guiding us through life (sorry this sounds a bit sappy I know).

IMG_1711

And the best mum in the world. I’ll let her off for sending me to school with a broken arm (oh did I mention she was a nurse…?) The heart the size of the country, a wardrobe the size of a small planet. Luckily we have the same size feet and the same love for Accessorize Smile

I’m also thankful for my health and fitness. There are so many people in the world not blessed with the ability to even walk, so I’m thankful for having a complete working body.

I’m thankful for my job as I know a lot of people are unemployed and are struggling at the moment. So I’m thankful for both Ben and my income that has allowed us to live in our little house and start building towards a lovely life.

There are so many other things I’m thankful for and I could write all day, but I’ll leave it there.

So today I will be running with the enemy, aka our current customer. No I am joking, they are lovey. It’s just I’m a little nervous as I’m just used to being in meetings with them and having arguments professional disputes with them regarding different factors. There’s quite a few of them and they invited me out this lunchtime and honestly I’m scared. I don’t know how fast they are. I don’t know if we will chat…or if it’s purely running. It was easy with the guy I was running with before as he was on my team and we laugh and joke all the time in the office. Well, I’ll keep you informed!

Speaking of my last run (Wednesday lunchtime), I got drenched and muddy. Lovely. Perfect for half-way through a working day. I did shower but I don’t wash my hair after a lunchtime run so it wasn’t the best look I’ve had for the afternoon. But it was a good run and though I grumbled and complained when he persuaded me to run (I had originally looked out the window and said “hell no” because of the weather), I’m glad I went. I didn’t take a photo of my Garmin, but we ran 3 miles in 26 mins. Not too bad.

This weekend is the start of my Pilates class on Saturday. I’m really looking forward to this as I had a couple of one-to-ones and loved it. And then Saturday night we’re off to Ben’s mums for a nice meal. Sunday I’m hoping to do a run but we’ll see how Saturday night goes I guess hehe.

What are you up to this weekend?

What are you thankful for?

Christmas, coconut flour and Ben & Jerry’s

Hi guys, errrrm how is it 21st November? I’ve been married now almost two months. That is mind-blowing!

I’ve really being feeling Christmassy. I love Christmas – it’s my favourite time of year. I love how everyone has that Christmas feeling; that expectation and excitement. I love the music and the decorations. And, obviously, I love the food.

What I hate about Christmas is this sudden fear of the dreaded holiday weight-gain. All these articles start appearing about “How to avoid the Christmas bulge” and “What foods to avoid at a Christmas buffet” etc. It sort of takes the fun out of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to throw myself into a giant-sized box of Celebration chocolates with abandon. But I’m not going to sit here and deny myself the treats that I so look forward to. Mince pies? Yes please. A slice of stollen? Ohhh yes. I just wish the media could tone things down a bit and stop making people feel so damn guilty about eating the food of the season. Come on people, let’s relax a little shall we?

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m working at the customer site at the moment. It’s quite a good team we have; there’s only seven of us and it’s nice and relaxed. The work is tough as the system that’s being developed is fairly complicated but we’ve got a good atmosphere. However. Outside our little bubble the normal business-as-usual life of the customer is working around us. And I don’t think they like us. They practically growl at us when we laugh. Raise their eyebrows when we have moderately loud conversations. And the worst part? They have the radio on. And it’s the same station. All. Day. Long. If I hear Skyfall ONE MORE TIME I might cry. Whew, sorry about that. Got that outta my system.

Right, so it’s What I Ate Wednesday – though this is Sunday’s eats. Let’s get started, shall we? Thanks to Jenn as usual!

Breakfast: I’ve been experimenting with breakfast. OK, still my usual porridge/oatmeal. But I’ve jazzed it up with my new favourite ingredient: coconut flour.
IMG_2875
OK, it doesn’t look any different. But let me assure you, this has a heaped tbsp. of coconut flour added to it. It adds a lovely subtle coconut taste and makes it very thick and stodgy. Perfect porridge consistency in my books. And it’s added a lovely smooth texture to it now. So with this at 7am I’m good to go until midday (with coffee as well, obviously).
Lunch: during the week I either have a mixed bean chilli or a salad, but at the weekend I can be a bit more exciting. Usually in the form of something eggy. As enticing as that sounds…
IMG_2945
I whipped up three eggs, some chopped cherry tomatoes, chopped onions and half a cup of pumpkin puree. The pumpkin was a great add. Really thickened it up. And made the eggs a lovely, er, colour Winking smile And I’m obsessed with Brussels’s sprouts at the moment. Might need to tone that down before I overdo it before Christmas – and what’s Christmas without sprouts??
Dinner: I decided to try a Thai-style coconut curry. Unfortunately I didn’t have any coconut milk but I thought with my new favourite ingredient I could attempt it anyway. I didn’t really follow any recipe. I just threw things together.
IMG_2944
Coconut Chicken Curry (serves 2)
Blob of coconut oil
Clove garlic, diced
Inch of fresh garlic, grated
2 chicken breasts, diced
2-3 mushrooms
1 cup of frozen mixed veg
1 white onion, diced
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. coconut flour
1 tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp. chilli powder
1.5 tsp. dried coriander
– Heat a pan with the oil, then add the onion and fry until the onion is golden. Add the mushrooms and fry for 1 minute before adding the garlic.
– Add chicken and brown.
– Add the yogurt and mixed veg. Cook for 3-4 mins.
– Add the coconut, herbs and spices.
– Once the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened up serve.
It was really tasty. The coconut flour helps to thicken it up and the yogurt makes it very creamy. Perfect. You can add other spices to make it more interesting if you fancy – I was just using what I had to hand.
Snacks: yeah…I might have had some Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Brownie Frozen Yogurt. My favourite flavour and it was brilliant to have alongside watching Erin Brockovich. Anyone else love Julia Roberts? Brilliant film!
Fitness: I ran on Monday and though it went really well in terms of speed it really didn’t agree with me.
IMG_2946
I finished the run feeling like I was going to be sick. It really wasn’t fun. I wasn’t sick, thankfully. I think it was a mix of pushing myself a bit too hard and I’m thinking the ice cream the night before didn’t help things.
I plan on running this lunch time with Mr Ego so we’ll see how that goes. He’s toned down a bit now which is nice. We motivate each other but I’m still finding the runs a bit too easy as his pace is slower. But you know, I’m not too bothered as it’s just good to get out. I like to have the company and it’s so refreshing to get out of the office. Though we tend to chat about work while we run which isn’t so good!
Important question: too soon?
IMG_2874
Oh, also – check out Ffion’s blog (Chocolate and Respberries) for a great Christmas-themed giveaway! Delicious Hotel Chocolat Advent Calendar 🙂 Hotel Chocolat do amazing chocolates…toss up between them and Lindt for my favourite.
What songs are really getting on your nerves?
Are you feeling Christmassy yet?