London trip and Burgess parkrun

This weekend was a lovely long one.

Kyle and I left work on Friday after lunch and walked to the train station to head to London. We had an AirBnb booked so after arriving at Waterloo Station we headed there. Not to state the obvious but it was a pretty hot one! Walking and using the tube was hardwork.

After settling into our accommodation we headed to London Bridge to go up The Shard.

Neither of us had done this before so it was exciting to go up. Though I have to say, the number of queues before you get up there is a little ridiculous: there’s a queue to get inside, then a queue to get your ticket, then a queue to have your items checked, then a queue to have a photo taken (which is mandatory and later you have to queue to view and then pay for if you actually want it), then a queue to get into the elevator before FINALLY arriving on the viewing floor. Jeeze. But once you’re up there it’s pretty spectacular. We had a lovely clear day so got a great view.

We avoided the expensive ice cream (£3 per scoop!) and cocktails at the bar (£13.50!) – definitely not in Portsmouth anymore eh. And then we headed back to the AirBnb to get ready for dinner.

We were going to the Chelsea branch of the Marco Pierre White steakhouse. We glammed up and got an Uber there (who was super friendly and even recommended us the same restaurant we had booked for brunch to the next day – great minds!).

The restaurant was super posh – definitely not something we’re used to 😉

We both had Whiskey Mac cocktails while we perused the menu. I drank mine trying to convince myself I do in fact like whiskey (I don’t, unless large amounts of the ice has melted into it). For starters we had the chicken parfait, then I had the duck leg salad and Kyle had steak, and for pudding we both had sticky toffee pudding.

It was very tasty, but quite small portions. I imagine for “normal” people this would be fine but I’m a greedy large appetited person.

We had grand ambitions of going to a pub and having a few more drinks, but reality set in and we realised buying a few snacks from a corner shop and going back to the AirBnb to watch some Good Place was actually better. We’re simple souls.

The next morning we walked to Burgess parkrun (unsurprisingly in Burgess Park). It was so hot. It was a two mile walk so we were nice and toasty when we got there.

While we were milling around I heard a man talking to two others about his parkrun Alphabet Challenge progress. He mentioned he was going to York very soon and then in a couple of week he was off somewhere in Poland for the Z,

Being the nosy person I am, I interjected and asked which parkrun in Poland. I asked because recently my Z for Zary had been removed from counting as a Z in the challenge. I only found this out fairly recently when I checked on my Bingo Challenge progress. Yep, no more Zary in the Z list. After asking around I found out it’s because the Z in Zary is actually not technically a Z in the Polish/Russian language (it has a special dot above it, meaning it means something else).

I mean, of course I was a bit frustrated when I found this out – I went all that way! But actually I really only have myself to blame for this mistake being the non-Polish speaking ignorant English girl… I don’t regret going to Zary of course as I loved going and it was a great adventure for Kyle and I. It also just means I need to go back to Poland to go to the actual real Z parkrun there (without the little dot above it), Zielona Góra. Watch this space…

But anyway, the man couldn’t remember which one he was going to but said his friends had been thorough in their organising. Well, good to luck him!

Burgess parkrun was a beautiful course which ran through the park, next to the large pond (small lake?) and back round again.

It was lovely and flat, asides from a couple of very brief inclines. And the marshals were lovely and enthuasiastic cheering us along.

My hamstring niggled a little but nothing major. I kept my pace controlled. I find it very hard though during parkrun because as you get to the end people are more enthusiastic in their cheering (“come on, sprint finish!”) and as tempting as that is, it’s not ideal when you’re trying to be sensible.

And it’s hard when people suddenly surge past you… Of course I did speed up a bit, but I tried so hard not to get too carried away in the moment. My time was 24:26.

At the end they had bananas and free gels to try (I declined both, far too hot). Then we headed quickly back to the AirBnb to get showered and head to our brunch in Covent Garden, The Big Easy.

Now BBQ food at 11am might not sound like everyone’s cup of tea but for me this was the absolute dream. It was called the Boozy Brunch and the one we selected (The Big Pig Gig) was an all you can eat BBQ food and unlimited drink. We’re not huge drinkers (and it was 11am…) so we opted for Diet Cokes (unlike the table behind us who were at least three pints throughout the meal haha).

I felt a bit bad because on our second Diet Coke I said to the waitress quite firmly (or so Kyle tells me…) not to bring straws with our fresh glasses. The waitress looked a bit affronted told me actually they were eco-friendly straws… Whoops that’s me told!

Anyway the food itself was so good. We had pulled pork, chicken legs, pork ribs, cornbread, coleslaw, BBQ beans and chips.

Once we got through our first ’round’ the waitress was there straight away asking what bits we’d like again, or just a bit of everything again? Well… just a bit of everything please!

Kyle was a big fan of the cornbread, I loved the ribs and neither of us touched the chips (why waste valuable stomach space!). But everything was delicious. On finishing most of the second round the waitress came back. We were both fairly full but being greedy I asked for a couple more ribs. You know, just because.

THEN I was stuffed. Ooooooof!

I had previously had ideas of going to Doughnut Time afterwards but noooo way would this be happening now. Also, the thought of giant sickly doughnuts really was not appealing in the heat.

We then rolled walked back to Waterloo and headed back home. Kyle played on his iPad while I read my newly acquired book, Ready Player One.

A trip well spent!

How was your weekend?

Do you like alcohol with a brunch?

Have you been up The Shard?

Running in sunshine and jumping in lakes

I only actually realised we had a Bank holiday weekend on Wednesday, so as you can imagine it was such a lovely surprise to know we had a three day weekend coming up! I definitely needed it. Despite only just getting back from my holiday the other week I was still so tired from the jetlag that it was nice to know I had an extra day to catch up with life.

Saturday was pretty full-on as it was my friend’s hen do (bachelorette party). Thankfully it was a day thing rather than a night thing so didn’t involve going clubbing and excessive drinking, which I’m not a huge fan of. The activities were due to start before midday in Bournemouth. I could have gone to parkrun in the morning but it would have been rushed so I decided to give it a miss, which handily works out well for timing my 100th parkrun with my friend’s 250th (I’m three away!).

Instead I planned to run three miles on my own. The weather was lovely and sunny and I slightly regretted wearing long-sleeves (though it was my new Lululemon top which I adore). I ran alongside the beach and in the distance I could see the Lee-On-Solent parkrun going on, the runners running in the horizon like dots. I got my route wrong and it came to 3.7 as I got home so then had to run up and down the road to get 4 miles, as you do Winking smile 






The run felt really good. The day before I’d seen my physio and told him about my niggling hamstring. He did some very intense deep tissue massage on it and I woke up with it feeling a bit tender but so much better. He said I was OK to run the next day though he advised leaving it for a few days…but I just really wanted to run (famous last words? I hope not…). Anyway I finally felt like my running is back to normal post-marathon. All my runs previous seem to have felt quite tough and laboured, so I’ve kept the pace easier. I know this is to be expected post marathon! Saturday’s run felt a lot better though.

IMG_0671New Lululemon top

Then my friend, Lou, picked me up with some of the other girls and we headed to Bournemouth. We only vaguely knew that there would be some outdoor activities, quad biking and an obstacle course (which I was really excited about).

We got into some super sexy camouflage to begin with.


Thanks to Ashley for the photos


And then we got down to some quad biking. I’ve done quad biking before and loved it but this was a little different.


The quad biking I’ve done was over a relatively smooth track so you can get some speed up but this was really bumpy and off-roady. You couldn’t exactly zoom round it. It was still really good fun though, just required a bit more technical skill and more of a risk getting stuck or rolling!

Lou sadly couldn’t take part in all the activities as she’s pregnant but she took lots of photos and was able to join in on some of the welly throwing (yes really) and other fun less-strenuous activities.


The obstacle course was so much fun but also a little insane. We had the usual climb under, and jump over things, and monkey bars…

The Challenge obstacle course

I was chuffed at getting over the wall myself! And then the last section was literally stepping into a shoulder deep lake and getting to a boat to pull the team across to the finish.

Let me tell you, that lake was bloody freezing. In the end we all had to swim because the lakebed was just sinking beneath our feet. I thankfully kept my head out of the water but it was still horrendously cold. As we huddled waiting for the rest of the team to swim across my friend goes “I have deep empathy for Kate now. I wouldn’t have shared my door either” which was a perfect summation of how it felt.


Though my friend had told me we needed a spare set of clothes because we might get wet I had no idea we’d get absolutely soaked. Some of the girls had sensibly brought towels but I had brought a tea towel at the last minute as I assumed I’d just need something to ‘dust off’ some dampness or mud. We all then huddled in an outdoor sheltered hut thing to get changed. It was horrifically cold but quite funny. My tea towel was somewhat useful!! Thankfully I did have a spare set of clothes with me.


And then it was time for refuelling…in the best possible way.


Afternoon tea! That first cup of tea was SO needed. Though I had nice warm and dry clothes on (not a warm and dry bra however…), I was still very cold. Lots of sandwiches, two scones with jam and cream, crisps and a cupcake helped though. Good grief. So much for eating a bit healthier post holiday! I had intended on eating my second scone instead of the cupcake but then there were cupcakes left-over and it looked to good to miss…

The hen do was such good fun and the hen had a great time Smile

I stayed at my parent’s house that evening as it was easier. The next morning I wanted to run 8-10 miles, depending how I felt. As soon as I started running I knew I wanted to run 10 miles. I just felt strong, happy and relaxed. The sun was shining and it was a little *too* warm but it was just nice to be outside in a tank top for once (another new Boston-themed Nike top). I got to the beach at about seven miles and wondered if I’d see my parents. They often take their dogs down the beach when the weather’s nice. And funnily enough I saw them and the four dogs in the distance (Alfie was with them of course).


It was lovely to stop quickly and say hello to them and Alfie mid-run. Though they had to hold Alfie when I ran off as he wanted to join me, bless him!










The run, despite being very warm, went really well. I felt good speeding up so I kept a tempo pace towards the end. Apart from needing to some long runs for the Cakeathon at the end of May, I have no goals or direction for my running at the moment so it’s nice to go with the flow.

And then my parents and me went to Gunwharf Quays for a bit of shopping (hello Adidas outlet shop) and Jamie’s Italian for lunch.IMG_0706

I had the vegetable plank to start (so tasty, lots of roasted vegetables, cheese and hummus), followed by my usual turkey Milanese and then a white chocolate cheesecake. I’ve never had a bad meal at Jamie’s (though I do tend to order the same thing…).

IMG_0702I’ve had this meal so many times now

Monday was a rather chilled day of doing some chores, catching up with life (and Game of Thrones – the latest episode, OMG. SO much happened) and just generally chilling. Perfect bank holiday weekend!

What did you get up to?

Is there a meal you keep going back to?

What kind of hen dos/bachelorette parties do you enjoy?

Reality TV stars at their finest

Oh I do love having a Monday off! This weekend England (not Scotland unfortunately – boo!) had a Bank holiday. This, for non-UK readers, is basically just a public holiday on the Monday. Though I’m not sure why it’s called a ‘bank holiday’ (though I know the banks are closed). Yesterday we got back from Essex seeing Ben’s dad yesterday and so today (Monday) we’ve just been chilling and catching up with the housework. So here’s my weekend catch-up.

Friday I got up early and went to spin which was good but as always hard. I was chuffed for getting myself there for the early class and then having enough time when I got back to pack and get myself together without stressing. Then we drove to Essex…and obviously this involved lovely bank holiday weekend traffic. *sighs*


Though it was perfect timing to paint my toe nails! Winking smile I was very appreciative of Ben’s smooth driving.

After having a nice evening on the Friday, we got up early and headed down to the Chelmsford Parkrun for a bit of Parkrun tourism! It was so great doing a different Parkrun. I had no idea about the course (though it’s always 5k).


It was located in a lovely park with a pond. The weather was a bit drizzly but a nice cool temperature.


The run went well. I felt speedy and strong and was grateful for a lovely flat course (there was a very small steep hill but nothing scary or hard).


My father-in-law cheered us on and took some photos and it was good fun. Though the girls were very speedy! There were at least three so far ahead of me that I had no chance to catch them.


But I was very chuffed with my time – about 10 seconds better than my Parkrun PB! But the course definitely helped I would say as my usual route has an annoying hill we have to do three times. I came 5th female which I was very pleased with considering all four females in front of me did it in sub-20s and sub-19s. Yikes!

Unfortunately – God I don’t even want to type this it’s so annoying and repetitive – I’ve twinged my groin. YES I KNOW. Another flipping running-related injury. Jeeeeeeze. But I’m not making a big thing about it. It’s fine. I’m just having a nice week break from running (well, I’ll see how it goes Winking smile). I’ve got my spinning and pump so it’s all fine. I’m not panicking as it feels like just a small twinge that just needs a little rest.

Moving on! For the rest of the day we did something hugely embarrassing that I can’t believe I’m admitting. We did the TOWIE tour. Now I will forgive you if you didn’t know TOWIE stood for The Only Way is Essex. And I will also forgive you for not knowing that that is a ridiculous reality TV show set in Essex… coining those elegant phrases such as “I’m well jel” (translation: “I’m very jealous”).

Well, we did the tour. As in we walked around Brentwood and went into all of the main cast’s shops (as they all now own their own shops for some strange reason). And lo and behold! They were actually in their shops. Now we are talking proper Z-list celebrities here, people. I know. Calm yourselves.

Well jel

All good fun. I will say that the majority of them were really lovely and didn’t mind me cheekily asking them for a photo. Apart from one. I think the phrase she used was “this ain’t a museum – have a look at the merchandise if you want a photo”. To which I promptly apologised and left the shop. I’m sorry I’m not paying £10 for a notebook to justify having a photo taken with her. I think she realised I was a bit affronted and called me back. It was all very awkward and I just wanted to get away as quickly as I could.

Not to labour the point too much but I do think reality TV stars shouldn’t be too high and mighty about fans wanting photos taken with them…after all, without us they wouldn’t be where they are. It’s not like they have ‘real’ talent like, say, actors and singers. Sorry if that’s a bit catty!

We also mooched around a few shops and I bought this top and skirt.


I’m not sure if together they go well but I was originally wearing a dress so I had to try them on together! Dorothy Perkins…how I love that shop.

In the evening we had a nice easy take-away (I had an Indian while Ben and his dad had a pizza – Ben was in heaven). We watched What Women Want (love, love that film! Such a classic) and had an easy evening.

We had a great time in Essex and it was good fun Open-mouthed smile

Right, now I’m off to do some ironing and watch some Friends. Rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle living over here!

How was your weekend?

Reality TV: do you love or hate? I’m terrible. I love all that rubbish; Keeping Up with the Kardashians, The Hills, Made in Chelsea… But not Big Brother. I have some standards Winking smile

Have you met anyone famous?

What Parkruns have you done? Any ones to recommend?

My running week and a baking success

Hi guys! Hope you’re enjoying the long weekend (if you’re lucky enough to not have to work/study). And would you believe the sun is out? OK it’s still very cold but there is actual sunshine and sunlight coming through the window as I type. Hurrah!

Well this week has flown by (I guess it would do being only four days). But I felt like I’ve done a fair bit. I have finally joined a running club. I found a very local one to me that meet on Tuesday nights. Originally I was sceptical of running clubs because I never run in the evenings. It just isn’t my thing. I like to get up and get it done first thing.

However, the appeal with running with other people was quite tempting. So I joined and went on Tuesday night. It was weird getting back from work and putting my running gear on and going running. I wasn’t used to not having dinner straight away.

The running club meets just over a mile from where I live so I ran there. There were so many people! About 20-30 I think. But I felt like such an outsider as everyone knew each other. We started warming up outside in the car park and it felt a little like a PE/gym lesson with a teacher. This went on for about 10 mins and I was thinking “let’s just run already!” All the faffing around was a bit annoying. Anyway we finally started and we did intervals. Basically the main guy stood a distance away from us and we had to sprint towards him as fast as we could and then jog slowly back. Then he would move further away. It was INTENSE. Hello competitive Anna. It was nice to have that motivation to run fast as I’m sure when I do intervals on my own I don’t push myself that hard! Though there were four guys who were just astounding in their speed. Crazy fast. Then after warming down it was over and I ran home. The next morning my thighs were so painful.

I’m still not wholly convinced as it basically took my entire evening from me and I do prefer running in the morning but it was nice mixing things up and the intervals obviously pushed me hard. Well, I’ll see how it goes I guess.

I made things a bit easier by making dinner in the morning so Ben could still have dinner when he got in and I could just grab something quick when I got back from the club. I made the chicken and apricot lentil thing again which was so good after the running.


Running, in general, this week has been back to normal after recovering from the half marathon this week.

Monday – 5 miles, average pace 7.42min/mile.

Tuesday – running club

Wednesday – I ran with the guys at work during my lunch break and I felt shattered. My legs ached and I was tired. We ran 3 miles, average pace 7.42min/mile.

Thursday – I wasn’t sure about running but Ben persuaded me (yes you read that correctly). The preference of getting the run done Thursday and fully enjoying my lie-in Friday made sense. Also meant I would be rested before my long run Saturday.

Friday – rest

Saturday – 10 mile long run planned.

Sunday – rest

And I’ve been loving my new trainers.


Mizuno Wave Alchemy 12

Because I have over-pronation when I run (my feet roll inwards) I needed trainers with a lot of support to help prevent this from happening as otherwise it ripples up my legs and makes my knee painful because I’m not running properly (my physio tells me!) So with insoles as well I’m sorted. Apart from a MOTHER of a blister when I wore them for the first time on a run, they’ve been brilliant. I’ve had no issues with my knee or my Achilles’ – TOUCH WOOD!!

I meant to post this earlier in the week but never got round to it but I went on a baking frenzy last weekend to bring cakes into work and for Ben’s work for people who sponsored my half marathon. I thought I’d pick a two very simple cupcake recipes to make it easier, but honestly I was baking for HOURS. I did like 6 batches of cupcakes!


And that wasn’t even all of them!


I made a standard chocolate cupcake but with a chunk of dark chocolate in the middle that I poked in just before baking, and I made a vanilla cupcake with vanilla icing and either the sugar balls or sweets stuck on the top.

I am a self-confessed bad baker (see exhibit A) so I am so pleased these actually turned out really well! The only disaster I had was when I was whizzing up the icing sugar and butter to make the frosting with a hand blender the icing went up in a huge puff of icing smoke literally coating everything, including my hair, in a film of sweet dusting. Alfie loved it.

So today is all about chilling and getting the chores done. We’ve got just two episodes left of Game of Thrones, a custom-made pizza from Sainsbury’s (no cheese, extra veg, chicken & BBQ sauce – YES) and maybe some sneaky chocolate…well, it is Easter Open-mouthed smile

Have a great Easter everyone!

What have you got planned for this weekend?

What kind of trainers do you prefer?

Are you/have you been part of a running club?