WIAW #3

How depressing that the nights are now drawing in and summer seems to be ending (had it ever begun?) I’ll miss walking Alfie early in the morning when it’s still light, and then I’ll miss running in the morning light. I’m definitely not looking forward to running along in darkness hoping to either a) not run into carefully concealed street paraphernalia, b) run through cold, muddy puddles that I hadn’t spotted, and c) step on slugs – possibly the most disgusting running-related incident. Or a snail…that horrible crunch. *shudders*

But summer is surely not over yet. I’ve had strong words with it over a certain specific date in September where I need a reasonably warm temperate and sunny blue skies (though not too sunny)…specific requirements for good wedding weather! We’re still in negotiations…

So, on the theme of summer: WIAW! Thank you, Jenn Smile

 

Now prepare yourselves for something a bit crazy (or at least mildly different):

5.08 pancakes_thumb[1]

Yes, that is a plate of banana pancakes that I made on Saturday morning. Not my usual green porridge! I made them using Katie’s recipe. They look a little bit well-done…but they tasted great! A dollop of yogurt and they were good to go. Trying to keep it varied. Baby steps…

So, lunch time over the weekend Ben and I had another salad (we’re going crazy for them at the moment; so easy to prepare and so many possible varieties):

5.08 dinner

We had chicken fried with garlic over a bed of salad (cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, beetroot, & leaves) with a massive dollop of roasted red pepper hummus. So simple but very nice. And! on the side (as I had soo many courgettes to use up) I whipped up a tzaziki side dip, but using Jenn’s amazing recipe.

5.08 tzatziki

Fantastically refreshing. Ben didn’t even realise it was using his least favourite vegetable rather than cucumber (which he has a better relationship with). So a nice summery salad to fit in with the Summer Staples style!

And dinner last night:

4.08 dinner

This was chicken curry. I followed this recipe from BBC Good Food website.

4.08 dinner2

I subbed actual peanut butter with PB2. It wasn’t as creamy as I thought it was going to be, which was a bit disappointing and it didn’t taste overly nutty. So maybe next time I’ll use ‘proper’ peanut butter and that might make a difference. It was tasty though. On the side I made some kale chips and had some steamed veggies. I loved the kale chips. I think it was purely for the satisfying crunch you got when eating them. But Ben didn’t like them at all (no surprises) but a win-win situation for me. Mountains of kale chips! Apparently it sounded like I was burrowing around in a pile of leaves when I was eating. Well, no one said being healthy was a quiet occupation!

Snack-wise I’m loving my green smoothies (I mix it up a bit and have some kale instead of spinach and Alpro hazelnut milk instead of almond – a review of Alpro products to come very soon!) and I’m loving this dark chocolate:

2.08 choc

74% dark chocolate with cocoa nibs in it. It’s soo rich and the small nibs in it are add a lovely texture. I’ve got into the habit of having a square in the evening to savour after dinner. It just hits the spot, you know? When you fancy that something sweet but don’t want to push the boat out too much.

In terms of fitness, the week didn’t start off well. I ran on Tuesday and it was tough. My legs felt heavy, I felt tired…it just wasn’t amazing. I got through it but honestly the fun factor wasn’t there (OK I use the word ‘fun’ loosely here).7.08 run

But hey ho, such is life! I haven’t been sleeping amazingly recently. Lots on my mind with the wedding and up-and-coming hen do. I always have problems sleeping when I’ve got too much to think about. This is usually when my friend G&T comes and gives me a hand Winking smile (to qualify that sentence, as it does sound like I’m slightly alcoholic, I don’t drink every night!! And only a small measure when I do hehe).

On an Olympics side-note, I’m so proud of Britain! We’re doing spectacularly. I can’t believe we’re third! I’ve been watching as much as I can. I’ve found myself screaming at the T.V (scaring Alfie in the process). And the 100m men finals…wow they were stupidly quick, weren’t they? And they all had a certain swagger. Well, I guess you would if you could run that fast!

And Ben has even been influenced by the Olympics…to the extent that we have bought a rowing machine! He is now rowing in the evening. Crazy. I really miss rowing as I used to do it in the gym quite a lot but now I just run so this should be good for me vary things up a bit. However, we don’t really have the space in our tiny little house for a rowing machine!! Ben didn’t quite think about this when he ordered it *sighs* oh well. Our lovely little spare room has been taken over. But with healthy intentions.

Happy WIAW! And happy eating!

Time is flying by

Hello! Was that the weekend? It whizzed by.

I went for a manicure. I decided to go for simple and elegant for my nails. Just a plain French manicure:

Nails

I never get my nails done (I’m so clumsy that there really never seems to be any point) so this was a nice treat. And sitting there and talking to a lovely lady while she did my nails was like therapy! It was great.

And I got my hair cut. I tried to sneakily take a photo (I was quite embarrassed about doing this) but I only managed to get this:

Hairdressers

But I think it looks rather cool! To be honest, I didn’t have much done to my hair. Just a trim. My hair is so long that I usually just forget about it and then have it cut like twice a year, whoops. And it was long past a cut!

On Friday night, I had my close friend over and she brought over some delicious cupcakes:

Cupcake2

And they will be perfect. Delicious and beautiful!

Cupcake

And my little niece, Ellie (who’s going to be my flower girl) enjoyed them too!

Ellie

So I’m very chuffed that they’re sorted (or at least organised!) And we’ve selected our music for the church as well.

Then Sunday my sister and me were on Mission: Find Bridesmaid Dress. And it was Mission Accomplished. We found a beautiful dress that fits her perfectly. It ticks all the boxes. And we got shoes!! *Breathes sigh of relief* Hurrah!

I did however, have a tough run which ended in me feeling extremely sick. The problem was that I got up later than usual (10.30!! But I had gone to bed at 2am as we were out with friends the night before) and had decided to not have breakfast as it was already fairly late. And because it was mid-morning it was quite warm. So as I got into my stride during my run I started to feel a bit sick. When I finished I felt really sick and very faint. Not good. Very stupid. Lesson definitely learnt. On a plus note…I did run a personal best!

5.08 run

Six miles in less than 50 minutes! Probably the reason I felt so rough after finishing…

And following from a not so good feeling run, I managed to have a porridge-related disaster:

5.08 porridge

It over-flowed!! It looks like something out of a horror film. What a waste Sad smile I got distracted while it was in the microwave. Whoops.

So in all, a very busy weekend! And I thought I’d leave you a picture of my parent’s dog, Lexi:

Sleeping Lexi… and our dog, Alfie, snooderling away. Basically, how I felt Sunday night!

Alfie sleeping

Hope your weekend was good Smile

Almost the weekend

Wow I’m so glad it’s Friday. This week has been fairly hard-going. I’ve been trying not to stress about the wedding and I’ve been doing some delegating so things are better. But getting up for working out has been really hard. I’m usually wake up a bit tired but after giving Alfie, our dog, a quick walk I can snap myself into focus mode. But I’ve been like a zombie walking him. Which isn’t so great when he suddenly sees a cat and I’m not prepared and he almost rips my arm out of its socket.

So my runs this week haven’t been great in terms of how I feel when I’m running. I’ve just felt so tired. But I managed to do some yoga (albeit an attempt). After some good tips from Maria and Becks, I’m going to check out some podcasts and see what they’re like as trying to do it all on my own didn’t work out the best. Anyway, here’s what my week looked like:

Monday – 5 miles (42.38mins)

Tuesday – yoga

Wednesday – 5.2 miles (43.37mins)

Thursday – weights (5 sets of 15 squats 5kg weight, 2min plank, 3 sets of 15 triceps kick backs 2.5kg per arm, 3 sets of 12 ‘cleavage creator’ and 3 sets of 30 sit-ups 5kg weight)

Friday – today I ran 3 miles as I want to improve on my speed.

3.08Run

Really chuffed with how it went. I woke up today feeling less sleepy and just went as fast as I could. It was really tough, I’m not gonna lie. I couldn’t have maintained my speed for a longer run. It was good though to push myself in a different way as I usually just try and run further. Mentally it went well because I knew it’d be a lot shorter than my usual runs. It just zoomed by. I was surprised by how much it knackered me though at the end. I was pooped!

I won’t do a short and fast run every week as it’s quite tough and doing 5 work-outs during the week days was hard-going, especially as I’ll still do my longer run at the weekend. But I’ll try to do it every other week as it’ll show me any progress and help push myself that bit more.

I’ve been enjoying some good smoothie puddings in the evening as well. I’m calling them smoothie puddings because they’re too thick to be smoothies but not massively indulgent to be a pudding. I don’t have any photos as I was too busy chomping (whoops). But my favourite is low fat yogurt, 1tbs carob powder, 2 tbsp PB2, frozen strawberries and a pinch of xanthan gum. Delicious! PB2 is something I’d come across in blogs but didn’t really know what it was. However, on researching it I found it was powdered peanut butter and 85% less fat and calories than usual peanut butter! Amazing.

PB2

Now, don’t get be wrong. I adore normal peanut butter. You can’t beat it. However, when you just fancy a slightly ‘lighter’ smoothie but still with a yummy PB taste, this is perfect! In an evening I don’t want anything too heavy as I tend to go to bed quite early (yes, I know, I’m like an old lady) so it’s perfect for fullness factor. And with the carob powder it tastes very indulgent but without a heavy feeling on your tummy afterwards.

So addicted to the Olympics right now. I’m currently sneakily streaming the track events at work. I’m just blown away with how amazing they all are. Jessica Ennis is our big British star and I’m just in awe of her. These women (and men, of course) are so inspiring to me to push myself that little extra. I know this sounds cheese, but I just think they’re amazing!

I’m looking forward to this evening as I’m meeting up with my close friend to talk wedding and eat Indian take-away. She’s kindly agreed to make me cupcakes for my wedding and sing during the ceremony, I’m so grateful to her! She’s an amazing singer and an amazing baker, so it’s a win-win situation Smile

Hope you all have a great Friday night and lovely weekend!

Summer…what summer??

Woohoo we’re mid-week already. Not that I’m living for the weekends or anything…And predictably it is cold and miserable once again. No surprises there then.

First off, here’s my What I Ate Wednesday (thanks again to Jenn for hosting as always!).

 

Breakfast, I had almond milk porridge but with my added twist of a teaspoon of wheatgrass to turn it a lovely appetising colour of green:

1.08 breakfast

I heard that one of the benefits of wheatgrass was that it helped prevent premature greying of your hair. Now I don’t know how true this benefit is but after my friend (same age as me, 24) told me she’s been finding some grey hairs in her hair I’ve had a mini-panic and been throwing wheatgrass into everything. Silly, I know, but it doesn’t hurt to add it to things (like smoothies and porridge) as you can barely taste anything.

At work I usually eat a tuna salad or I make chilli and take that with me. I won’t post a pic as they’re fairly standard and I’ve posted photos of them before, but I will mention that recently I’ve been adding nutritional yeast as a topping to the chilli and, honestly, it’s divine! I’ve only just come across nutritional yeast so forgive me if I sound like a bit of a newbie when I say, Where have you been all my life?? Yummy.

But anyway, here’s lunch that I had at the weekend:

28.07 lunch

Chicken, onion, yellow bell peppers, courgette, mushrooms and full-fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese with a some Cajun spices to add a kick with steamed broccoli and soya beans. I love this meal soo much. So easy to throw together and just delicious. Really creamy and very filling.

And because it’s Summer Staples WIAW, [though it doesn’t feel like summer] dinner yesterday evening was a lovely colourful salad – at least something looks summery!

30.07 dinner

Feta cheese, haricot beans, cucumber, beetroot, tomatoes, lettuce and a drizzle of balsamic dressing. So fresh and yummy. I’m so into my cheese right now. I’m not a big fan of cheddar at all, but feta, goat’s cheese, edam, mozzarella (not melted) and things like that I adore. You can’t really beat a salad with how easy it is to prepare. Snacks have been a lot of honeydew melon…mmm.

Currently courgettes [zucchinis] are in season in the UK and I can’t get enough of them. I have them in my chilli, stir-fries, random ad hoc meals… and I really want to try that delicious Zucchini-ziki Sauce recipe from Jenn. Definitely a winning summer recipe! And beetroot. I really fancy making a beetroot smoothie – any ideas welcome! Smile

Onto the fitness side of things. Not so good. I woke up Monday morning for my run really not feeling like it. When I stepped outside it was like winter. I wanted to put gloves on it was that nippy. Fairly depressing. Then as soon as I started running I knew the run would be bad. You know when you can just tell? I wanted to give up straight away. My only motivation for continuing was that it would be a waste of the effort of getting up early. I was already up, dressed in my gear and outside, I might as well just get on with it, you know? But I started slowly and didn’t pick up my speed until towards the end.

30.07

I wish I knew what makes me have a good run. Is it what I ate the night before? The amount of sleep I got? I just don’t know. But I was tired and felt my legs were heavy as I was running and I was in a bad mood.

Well, you can’t win them all can you? You’ve got to have a bad run to appreciate the good runs after all!

Here’s my outfit of the day:

1.08 outfit

The top is from Oasis, jeans Top Shop and the necklace is from Accessorize. You can’t quite see in the photo but the top is a lovely colour of greeny-blue. And it’s lovely a silky.

Oooh and I attempted yoga for the first time. I was supposed to do it at the weekend, but after getting myself all stressed out I just didn’t feel the urge. So I got up earlier on Tuesday and attempted some of the beginner’s poses I’d found on the Internet: Downward Facing Dog (to begin with I struggled a little bit to understand how I was actually supposed to be positioned), Warrior (love this one), Plank, Fierce pose, Tree pose (another good ‘un), Garland pose (not the most attractive of positions I must admit), and the Boat pose. I hope to get better at doing them, then hold them for longer and then move on to more tricky ones. Baby steps. But not bad for my first crack at it!

Happy WIAW, hope you all had lovely meals Smile

On the Edge

This weekend has really made me realise how stressed I am about the wedding. I feel under quite a bit of pressure. Not from anyone, but from myself. I’m counting down the weekends and counting up the tasks left to do and it’s not good, people. It’s frightening me! I keep reassuring myself that it’s all under control. I’ve got lists coming out of my ears (weekend breakdown of tasks, day before schedule, wedding day hour by hour timeline) but still I feel stressed. I feel that terrible feeling that I have forgotten something.

Our family friend is doing the bouquets and button holes. She’s fabulous and I have no doubt that it will all be beautiful. But we sat there and she asked me simple questions, like do you want the stems to be covered with material or just the stalks showing? And simple things like that and I started to panic and feel overwhelmed. In the middle of our meeting I was almost in pieces. Come on, Anna, pull it together! I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I can’t shake the panic.

Well, in the end we managed to tick the flowers off the list, then Ben’s outfit off the list after he had his fitting. He looked very dapper. And we chose our hymns. Whew! So it is going well, it just doesn’t feel like it, you know? There’s still so much to do.

Though I am generating some of this stress myself by taking on more things than strictly necessary. Like the sweet/candy buffet. I don’t have to have one, but the wedding has a candy theme and both Ben and me love love love sweets so it seemed rather apt. Anyway, I’ve been hunting around charity shops and Amazon and have found pretty much the selection I want to use. Then I went to Hobby Craft and got some ribbons and decorative bits to jazz them up a bit:

Sweet bufet

I want to add another larger vase and a big round bowl and I think that should be enough…maybe? The triangle white thing is polystyrene so I can display lolly pops on there. I’ve got shredded white paper to fill the bottom of some of the larger contains so it adds that little something else to it. And labels to hang off the lids or prop next to the containers. In the pink bag is our collection of sweets so far:

Sweets

It doesn’t look much but it’s quite a big bag and I think I’ve got about half of what I need. So good progress! I’m also going to attempt to have marshmallows dipped in chocolate and sprinkles on display and my friend is baking me some cupcakes. So not too shabby!

On a non-wedding note (though that doesn’t seem to exist for me at the moment), I ran just over 7 miles on Saturday…

28.07 run

…and then had the best smoothie breakfast afterwards. It was really yummy!

28.07 smoothie28.07 Smoothie 2

Post Run ChocNut Smoothie

Approx. 200ml almond milk

1 x Alpro almond chocolate dessert

1tbs crunchy PB (no added sugar)

1tbs chia seeds

A pinch of xanthan gum

28.07 smoothie ingredients

It was so thick and delicious. Really filling. I ate it with a spoon, it was like pudding. Definitely a winner for me.

Right I will calm myself and stop stressing so much about the wedding…or at least I will try to!

Hope your week is starting well!