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.

Run 10.10

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.

IMG_2300

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

Run

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

IMG_2318

IMG_2327

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.

IMG_2455

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.

IMG

IMG_1571

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.

IMG_0103

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.

IMG3

IMG4

IMG_2434

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!

IMG_2335

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

IMG_2351

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…

IMG_2334

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.

IMG_2331

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

IMG_2355

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

IMG_2367

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.

IMG_1619

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.

IMG_2446

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…

IMG_2379

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.

IMG_2366

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??)

IMG_2234

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

IMG_2235

And we bought just a few things…

IMG_2256

Hehe. Yum!

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

PicMonkey Collage1

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.

IMG_2257

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.

IMG_2262

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.

IMG_2264

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!).

IMG_2258

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!):

18.09 porridge

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!

IMG_2271

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:

IMG_2266

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

IMG_2267

Then whizzed up in a food processor.

IMG_2268

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

IMG_2269

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…

14.09 pizza

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

14.09 pizza1

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:

IMG_2270

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]:

19.09 outfit

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

Happy WIAW all! Happy eating [and viewing]!

Almost there now…

What a busy weekend! Wow I can be super efficient when I want to be (an impending deadline looming ahead helps quick things I must say…W-Day is approaching sooooon!)

I got up early to rush off to my beauty appointment Saturday morning, then had to rush home and do some housework (yes I am that OCD). And then my sister, my mum and me rushed off to have lunch in Chichester. Chichester is such a lovely place and the weather was fabulous. There were all these little stalls about selling local foodie things which just made my day. I was like a kid in a sweet shop! [Apologies for the photos, it was very sunny and I was using my IPhone!]

PicMonkey Collage

So obviously I had to pick myself up a little something…or three…

IMG_2244

I’m in love with these chutneys. I could have bought more than this to be honest but I had to restrain myself (well, my sister had to restrain me). Banana chutney sounds crazy, but it’s SO good. I cannot wait to start using these!

We then went to a lovely restaurant called Trents.

IMG_2227

That’s my mum and me.

IMG_2228

And my sister and my mum. We’re a very small family (with my dad) but we’re very close. I have such fun with my sister and mum, we all just have a lot of banter with each other and are always there for each other if we need them.

 

For starter we shared a platter of hummus-type dips and a baked camembert…

IMG_2231

Divine. We dove into it and hoovered it all up like locusts. Very yummy.

For main I chose a lime and chilli chicken salad.

IMG_2233

And I was STUFFED. Let’s be honest, I was quite full after the starter! But it a perfect lunch.

Then we ambled along Chichester high-street just moseying about really. We ended up in Lakeland Plastics which is one of my favourite shops (seriously, they have they answer for every chef’s problem!!) And similar to those mini-spatulas I found last week, I found this mini-frying pan:

IMG_2242

I mean how cute is that! It’s to fry a solitary egg.

And we also found some random items that made us laugh. A tin for all of Ben’s essential items! Winking smile

IMG_2241

You know what I mean though…all that random Man Stuff that get scattered about the house(batteries & screwdrivers…things like that). Hehe.

And this card made me giggle:

IMG_2240

Now this might sound sappy, but there was a violinist playing outside as we were mooching about and while we walked along I realised he had started playing the music I’m going to walk down the aisle to!!

IMG_2239

Canon in D Major (by Pachelbel). It was so lovely.

Hope you all had lovely weekends!

WIAW #6–Hello September

Hi lovely readers! I can’t believe it’s September. It’s just crazy how quickly it’s come around. September for me (and many others I’m sure) is a month of new beginnings or changes. School, college and university always started this month. And I loved that feeling of “what would this year bring me” and how I could make it better than the last year. Then when I left university it was when I started my first ‘proper’ job. Then it was (well, supposed to be) when Ben and I were to move out. Unfortunately the house wasn’t ready and we had to wait a bit, but it still felt like the start of something new.

But I also find September a little bit of a sad month. The summer is coming to an end. The nights are drawing in. It’s getting colder (in the morning especially). It’s dark when I get up. It’s fairly depressing. It’s only going to get worse…But let’s keep positive, people, summer hasn’t actually finished yet! It was boiling yesterday so fingers crossed it stays nice…at least until after 22nd September Winking smile

On to WIAW. Thank you Jenn for hosting! And our first one for September! And the theme is ‘Good Habits’. I like this theme.

Soo breakfast…I’ve got a little bit of a problem…I’m slightly addicted to pancakes. I can’t stop eating them. The problem is though that they’re a bit fiddly to make during the week when I’m trying to get off to work quickly (bad times). But at the weekend they’re amazing. And as per my usual standard, I added a tsp of wheatgrass. Perfect green little pancakes!

Green pancake 3.09

I just love how fluffy they are and the blackberries just make them perfect.

3.09 pancake

And it’s not complete without a drizzle (a hefty drizzle) of PB2:

3.09 p

They’re not quite as filling as my usual hot oatmeal breakfast but they taste so darn good I’ll let them off.

And for lunch I’ve been cooking big batches of chilli at the weekend and then taking it into to work with me. I love cold chilli. Is that strange?

Lunch 4.09

It’s always an ad hoc collection of veggies, like bell peppers, mushrooms, courgettes…anything really. And then quorn mince for protein.

Lunch 2 4.09

I sprinkle nutritional yeast all over it and devour. Then I have a couple of Baby Bells afterwards and an apple. Really filling!

This was dinner last night. And it was sooo good. I was inspired by Meg’s recipe here.

2.09 p

I used 5 egg whites, half a sweet potato, sliced courgettes and mushrooms (they’re hiding) and a tbs of almond butter mixed with some almond milk to make a sauce. It’s a more healthy, but still very filling, version of pizza (I did previously try the cauliflower pizza but it took ages and this was a lot more simple).

2.09p3

It honestly rocked my world. I’m definitely having this again! Though you should have seen Ben’s face when he saw my dinner. *Sighs* He just doesn’t get the almond butter thing…or the sweet potato thing… Instead, I made him a tortilla pizza (safer ground for him) which he said he could “eat every single day”. I’m happy with that result!

I’ve also been using my brand new water bottle, which I love:

Water bottle

It’s got it’s own in built filter, how cool is that??

Moving on to fitness. I mentioned in my last post that I didn’t really enjoy my long run at the weekend. Now that I’ve changed to shorter, faster runs it’s just harder, mentally, to keep going. But at the moment I’m happy to be working on my speed and my strength training. I’m definitely seeing progress – I feel stronger, I think I look more toned. And, what I was most concerned about (and this will sound so silly), but I haven’t gained any weight. I haven’t changed my diet at all so I was concerned that by not running so much I might gain a bit of weight. But I haven’t. So I’m chuffed! Happier all round Smile

And here’s what I’m wearing today. Nothing amazing. Just nice and simple Smile

IMG_2158

Cardigan is from Asda, plain white strappy top is from New Look, jeans from Top Shop.

Happy WIAW! Anyone else love trying different, healthified pizza variations?

Are you happy it’s September? Or sad summer is coming to an end?