What I’m loving lately

Over the past few weeks there have been a few new things that I’ve discovered and have been loving. Some of them I have been sent to review, and others are items that I’ve bought myself.

Ab Roller

I’ve seen these all over the place at the gym and online. Though at the gym people just use barbells to roll out with (my gym’s not that fancy). I’ve tried the barbell method and it’s alright but a bit awkward, especially as the bar tends not to be very smooth and quite hard so can hurt the hands a bit (yes, I’m a pansy).

Ab roller

I’ve been tempted to buy one online but never got round to it. Then I was in Whiteley the other day in a quirky Scandinavian shop, Tiger, and found one of £5 – bargain! It’s a great core workout – from the shoulders to the abdominals, helping increase stability and strength. So far I’m doing it from my knees and it is tough.

Grip Strengthener

I also found, in the Tiger shop, a grip strengthener, which you basically just squeeze open and close with your hand.

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There were different strengths and I chose the 25kg one (not entirely sure what that means – but the bigger the weight the harder it was to close the grip). I’m not sure how effectively this is going to be but I can use it when I’m watching TV or in traffic. It was only £2 so it’s not breaking the bank.

Grip strengthener

Anything to make lifting weights, pull ups and bouldering easier!

Resistance Band

I’m a big fan of resistance bands. I currently have one that I use to go around my ankles to do monster walks to help increase my glute strength and activation. It’s more of a ribbon-style band though. When I was at the fitness retreat they showed us a lot of mobility work that you should do before you lift weights. They used a thin, longer and very strong resistance bands. So I picked one up from Amazon very cheaply so I could continue on my own at my gym.

Resistance band

It’s great for shoulder mobility work as it loosens up your muscles and yours joints before you start lifting.

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It’s very simple and really only takes 5 minutes but it works wonders. My lifting afterwards felt a lot more smooth and in control – less clunky. As I work out in the morning this is super helpful as I haven’t had chance to fully get my body into gear. Normally I would just get on a machine for 3-4 minutes as my warm-up but now I’m trying to do more mobility work like this and some dynamic warm-ups, like eagles, some yoga moves and glute activation – it just depends what I’m going to be doing for my workout. This way I get a more focused warm-up.

 Benefit Eyebrow Pencil

OK I don’t really wear make-up. If I go on a night out or somewhere fancy I might put on some eye liner and mascara. Anything else seems like suffocating my skin or too much effort. However, my friend did do my make up for me before the wedding the other week and it looked really good. I still looked like my, just an enhanced version. It was a Bare Minerals powder set. I was very tempted to buy it but in the end didn’t as I wasn’t sure when I’d wear it. I wouldn’t wear it for work or just a regular day so it seemed a bit expensive. But my interests have been raised for make up in general. I’d love to be able to know how to use it. And let’s be honest, I ain’t getting any younger nor any less single!!

I went out shopping with my mum the other day and we went to Boots to have a mosey at the make up. The pair of us are ridiculous as we have no idea what different make ups do (concealer? Foundation? BB cream? Tinted moisturiser? Powder? Clueless!). Anyway we found a few products and asked the lady (not caked in make up – she looked like an normal human being for once! A rarity for the Boots make up people…) to help.

I saw the eyebrow pencil and was intrigued. I have very dark eyebrows and I pluck them regularly. But there are a few gaps…The lady applied the eyebrow brush and my eyebrows suddenly looked super neat and tidy. Sold!

Benefit Eyebrow pencil

It doesn’t make me look like my eyebrows are drawn on or vastly different, just a bit more consistent. It didn’t look like I was wearing anything but it did make my eyebrows look better. As I have such dark features, it worked well to enhance the features I already have. So I treated myself Smile One baby step at a time!

Protein Cheese

I’m still persevering with eggs for breakfast. I like the protein in the morning and have found I can last a lot longer past midday without needing to EAT LUNCH IMMEDIATELY. My jam so far has been three eggs, kale and some sort of fish but I recently found a new cheese in Tesco called EatLean Protein Cheese. Yes, sounds weird I give you that. Basically it’s low in fat but higher in protein and it seems to be like regular cheddar. So I had some of that with some black olives and it was delicious!

Protein cheese scrambled eggs

I do love my protein and having something so filling in the morning is important to me, especially after doing a workout at the gym (muscle repair and all that jazz). Don’t get me wrong though, porridge will always be my first love and when my running gets back on track and into marathon training I will most likely be back on it.

Red Kooga – review

I was recently sent a herbal product called Red Kooga. It’s apparently supposed to enhance energy and sports performance because of the herbs it contains. These include Panax ginseng (a herb that has been used for thousands of years to promote vitality and maintain mental alertness) and Guarana (which helps provide a natural source of caffeine). It also contains a daily allowance of B Complex Vitamins, which helps maintain a healthy nervous system and helps release energy from food. And furthermore it has no artificial flavours or preservatives and is suitable for vegetarians or vegans.

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I was obviously a bit dubious and sceptical about this. I’m not a natural remedy type person. I started taking two a day with breakfast and, hand on heart, I genuinely think it made me feel a bit more awake. Perhaps this was entirely a placebo effect – who knows, but I honestly did feel like it helped. Not in a huge “WOW I have so much energy, let’s run a marathon immediately” type ways, but in a subtle “I’m yawning a bit less and not feeling so sleepy in my morning meetings”.

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It’s available in Boots for £7.99 and I would actually purchase some to help me through days I know I need to concentrate a bit more. I’d definitely have used these during my revision and exams at university! I didn’t feel any difference in the gym or running though but then for me I don’t think that’s a problem area.

Enerton Full Insoles – review

I’ve also been sent some Enerton Performance Full Insoles. They’re to put into your trainers in place of your regular insoles in order to help reduce injury and support your feet when running. They apparently give a good “energy rebound”, which over long distances can be invaluable. They are made up of “D3O technology”, which is basically a special substance that’s putty soft when you’re not moving, but hardens as you put more pressure on it and produces a higher energy return.

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I have recently started using them when running so will do a full review shortly, but so far they’re very comfortable. For someone who is super injury prone and often uses insoles, these are definitely right up my street!

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So keep your eyes open for a full review on these bad boys soon!

Do you use any energy boosting supplements?

Do you like a carb-based breakfast or a protein-based breakfast?

How do you warm-up at the gym or for running?

**Full Disclosure: I was sent the Red Kooga and Enerton Insoles for free to review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Locked in a Room, ribs for days, a bloody long run and Mother’s Day

Whew, check that out for a title! This weekend was pretty damn awesome, if I do say so myself. On Friday I worked from home so when I was finished I popped Alfie in the car and drove to Bristol to meet up with my university friends. We stayed with Kate and her husband, who I went on holiday with last year to the US, as it was her birthday the other week.

Kate is a little obsessed with pugs and has her own pug, Doug, who’s adorable. For her birthday I bought her PugOpoly (a pug themed Monopoly) – how cool!?

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One of my other friends bought her a pug welcome mat.IMG_8978

Hehe, I think she was pleased! Alfie, though he didn’t enjoy the drive up (he’s a bit of a car wuss) did appreciate me taking his bed with us so he could chill out a bit when he got there.IMG_8953

Kate and Jamie had made us fajitas which were very tasty and we chatted and chilled before picking up another friend from the station. Then we were all there and ready to go with our usual tradition of making brownies…

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I’ve blogged about the epic brownie tradition previously, but basically we just make a huge brownie and then eat with spoons (we kind of cook it so it’s still quite gooey in the middle – a bit pudding-like). It’s a ridiculously indulgent tradition but we love it.

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The key is to crumble up some Milky bar and Mint Aero and mix through the mixture just before it goes into the oven. You won’t regret it Winking smile

The next morning I got up early and headed to the very nearby Little Stoke parkrun to quickly get in a parkrun (I’m now on 92! So close to 100!). IMG_8970

It looks rather wet and grey but it didn’t rain thankfully and actually wasn’t that cold. I did a lap warm-up and then headed to the start. It was a different start and finish to when I’ve previously done it. I’m presuming this was because it was briefly on the grass which was very wet so they sensibly kept it all on the path: three and a bit loops of the field on the pavement, nice and flat and barely any wind. I didn’t go crazy as I was conscious of doing a long run the next day (18-20 miles in the plan) but I still wanted to see what I could do. I know I wasn’t in the same shape I was in when I was last there where I got 20 something minutes but I wanted 21 something.

I was pleased to find out there was a pacing event on but disappointed when they only had 20 minutes and then 24 minutes and above. Hmm. So I kept a way behind 20 minutes but in front of 24 roughly.

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As I got to the final lap I saw a woman in the distance and planned to try and overtake her. Part of me wanted to sprint to do it straight away but I knew that would be stupid so I just patiently increased my pace slightly and caught her up. The advantage of overtaking is that they’re unaware of it happening until it happens. The over-taker has all the control. I finished in 21:35 and third lady so I was happy with that!IMG_8971

Then I rushed off to meet my friends at the very nearby Starbucks (her house is so well situated) as they’d gone to walk the dogs. I grabbed a quick coffee with them (outside with the dogs) and then dashed back to get showered and breakfasted so I wouldn’t be holding anyone up.

We left late morning to go to Kate’s main birthday event. It’s called Locked in a Room and basically you get locked in a room for an hour and have to solve a load of clues in order to get out. It was so much fun! Honestly, I fully recommend it.IMG_8983

There’s a whole backstory and theme and inside the room is full of different objects and boxes with locks on and combinations so you have to work out what the codes are to find more clues. There are other teams in other identical rooms doing the exact same thing so it’s a big race against the clock and against them. There’s also CCTV cameras watching you and if you start to get super stuck they give you more clues via a screen (otherwise I guess it would be rather rubbish to spend a huge chunk of time having no idea what to do).

It’s very frantic and you have to think carefully but you’re obviously keen to get it done quickly so to get out in time. You’re racing around the room looking at different objects, reading a clue you’ve got and trying to make sense of it. Really good fun. And we won! We escaped with seven minutes to go and before any of the other teams.IMG_8992

You come out into another holding room where you can then watch on the televisions the other teams trying to solve their clues. Quite amusing.

We then walked through Bristol to get to our restaurant of choice. We saw a couple of Banksy’s and we walked through the area that had been the race village for the Bristol half marathon (that I did a number of years ago).

Bristol

We then arrived at Spitfire for lunch.

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Spitfire is a restaurant that pretty much calls to my heart. My friend Kate is very much on the same page as me with food and meat so she had suggested this BBQ/meat smoking restaurant. IMG_9015

Bless my vegetarian friend, Charlotte. She took one for the team as there really wasn’t a huge veggie choice for her, but she did enjoy her halloumi burger she said!

Oh my god, the menu. Jamie’s husband (a huge rib and meat fan like myself) recommended the spare ribs so I was set on that. I’m quite glad for the recommendation as honestly I wouldn’t have known what to have gone for! So many tasty sounding things. For starters Kate, Shell and I shared some pork rashers to start.IMG_9017

And then we all (apart from Charlotte) had the spare ribs.IMG_9023

Good lord they were good. Literally heavenly. They came with a cranberry and apple glaze and were just so tasty. I had sweet potato fries with them (a superfluous item to be honest that probably wasn’t necessary… though of course I did have some of).Spitfire spare ribs

For my shame I was the only one who finished theirs (let’s be honest, I’ve had a fair bit of practice). I left some room for pudding of course though Winking smile (hence not finishing the sweet potato fries – pick you battles!)

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More brownie! It was very tasty but to be honest it wasn’t anything special. It wasn’t all that hot and not really that gooey but it was tasty nonetheless. I’d probably just been spoilt the night before…

Then I rolled myself out of the restaurant. Standing up I sudden’’ly felt extremely full (what a surprise eh). The problem was my friend needed to get to her train rather sharpish so I was required to walk slightly more quickly than the snail’s pace I wanted to. Ooooof that’ll teach me for being so greedy (but will it?? I never learn!).

Luckily she got to her train on time and it was time to part ways. It was lovely, as always, seeing my friends and I had a great time. I drove back to Southampton listening to the audiobook version of Room. Oh god that book. It is incredible – so good but also very unnerving.

Surprisingly I didn’t need dinner that evening… I woke up the next morning fairly early to meet my friend, Shantha, for another long run. I didn’t have anything before the run because I was pretty sure I had enough inside me to keep me going!

We had a lovely run around her area (Hamble and Netley) which was great. It’s nice to go somewhere different from the usual routes I always do on my long runs. It was quite cold but the sunshine was bright and I was warm fairly quickly. We chatted away about this and that and the miles flew by. I hadn’t been that worried about this run because I knew I’d get at least 10 with Shantha and that would break it up so it wasn’t such a huge mileage on my own.

Our pace was nicely matched (though I always do worry I’m slowing her down as she is quite speedy) and it was nice to leave the route-planning to her. I’m awful though as I have no sense of direction so she did have to keep guiding me as I’d randomly turn off or miss hear her directions! But I was grateful for a lovely route Smile

As Shantha had to get back for her Mother’s Day service fairly promptly we only ran 10 miles together before parting. My plan was to run 18-20 miles but I’d decided to run 18 unless I really felt the urge to go further or if my route ended up that way. I had a vague idea of where to go. I put my headphones on and listened to more of Room. It was actually quite stressful at points listening to it while running because the story got quite dramatic and I was so absorbed. But it did help the miles fly by.

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I didn’t feel like the run was that tough in terms of speed or pace but I could feel a tiny glimmer of my foot niggling so I stopped at 18 miles to be super safe. Happily my route also ended up back near the car then anyway and I only had to do a small run out and back from it to get up to 18 miles in total.

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I had a small casualty of a bramble attack during the run which had caused my leg to bleed. It looks worse than it is. I did have a few people give me worrying looks and one man tried to stop me and point to my leg. I patiently explained I was aware and it was OK thank you.

I quickly got back, had breakfast, got presentable then headed to my parent’s to celebrate Mother’s Day with them. My dad cooked steak (rib eye for me, rump for them), sweet potato wedges, roasted veg and salad. image

We were meant to have a baked camembert to start but my dad had put it in the oven but only turned the light on, whoops…so we had that after the steak. Still good though!

No pudding as my mum and dad are trying to eat sensibly and, let’s be honest, I didn’t need anymore pudding either. The whole meal was delicious. And I actually felt pretty good for the rest of the day in terms of tiredness and hunger. My body seems to be adjusting to the miles Smile

So a huge happy Mother’s Day to my lovely mum. She’s always there for me and she’s pretty damn special. And so the weekend was finished off nicely!

How did you spend Mother’s Day (for those celebrating it!)?

Can you eat more than your friends? Embarrassingly I just have the hugest appetite out of most people I know…

Would you enjoy the Locked in a Room game?

Rants and Raves #27

And I’m back on the Rants and Raves again! I actually have quite a full-house today, so let’s get going.

Rave: As I mentioned in the previous post, I treated myself to a new pair of trainers. Why is it that it always requires an injury or niggle to trigger me to do something sensible? The logic of a runner I suppose… or maybe just me!IMG_8516

They’re Mizuno Wave Paradoxes and I believe this could be my fourth pair. I did consider buying another pair of ASICs (the Luminus ones I reviewed a while ago) but they’re very expensive and my Luminuses haven’t actually worn out yet. So why don’t I just wear them? Well, Mizunos have always been my fail safe. I’ve worn them for several marathons now – possibly all of them and I always go back to them. They are quite ‘stiff’ but I find this works for my feet. For £57 as well you can’t go wrong (I got them from www.sportsshoes.com).

Rant: The colour of said trainers. It looks like they’ve gone through the wash with a pair of jeans. My last pair were pink which was a whole lot better than this light blue colour. But after a few parkrun visits I’m sure the colour will be unrecognisable.

Rave: Crisp cold mornings are far nicer than soggy mild ones in my opinion.IMG_8477Yes it’s cold but it’s just so beautiful. And Alfie doesn’t get anywhere near as muddy.

Rave: And on that note of coldness, I’ve been wanting a hat for ages to wear when I walk Alfie as putting my hood up feels a bit silly and antisocial (and isn’t actually that much warmer). I found this hat in Tesco for £2!IMG_8517

It’s so snug and lovely. I can’t believe their winter stuff is in the sale already.

Rant: Don’t put tissues in your FlipBelt and then wash it. IMG_8596

Big mistake. Little pieces of white tissue everywhere! Arggh. I rarely take tissue with me on a run but I did for my failed 18 miler just in case. Then I forgot and merrily went on my way to washing it *sighs*.

Rave: One of my close friends is getting married in July and I’m really excited. It should be a fantastic day as they’re such a lovely couple. I did have a little bit of fun on the RSVP though…IMG_8518

She found it amusing thankfully Winking smile

Rant: I’m an idiot (probably a good portion of my rants in general are down to my own stupidity I’m sure). I booked a holiday completely on a whim, paying for it and everything before realising it was the day after said wedding. I evenly smugly booked Southampton airport because “how easy would that be”. Not so easy considering the day before I’m in Gloucester and was intending on staying over in a hotel. It means no drinking for me now and a very late drive home after the wedding. Oh well.

Rave: And to segue nicely into my booked holiday (stupid timing aside)… I signed up to go on the Body Type Nutrition Retreat. It’s run by Ben Coomber, the nutritionist who’s podcast I’m obsessed with. Basically it’s six days of 3-4 hours of training and 1-2 hours of nutrition coaching (per day). There are workshops and training sessions focused on strength and conditioning so you can learn and progress in your fitness goals. It’s not running-focused, but rather overall health. As I’ve got so into the gym and lifting weights I wanted to gain better knowledge in the area, as well as nutrition in general. There’s also a lot of fun and games involved. I thought “hey you only live once!”. I’m in a stage in my life where I can do what the hell I want and this interested me. It’s also nice to know I’m going on holiday with a bunch of like-minded people.

Rave: Good food! I never used to eat much steak at all but I’ve suddenly had such a craving for it. Obviously I’ve always been a keen meat-eater so I guess this is hardly surprising.IMG_8642

This was a grass-fed Irish rump steak (from MuscleFood – use this code AS284829 for freebies!) with a steak seasoning, a load of veg with Saint-Félicien cheese. Very tasty and filling! Mid-week steak, can’t go wrong (unless your a veggie…).

Rant: Idiots on the road. This guy in the photo below wearing SHORTS. Not only is it FEBRUARY but shorts on a moped at any time during the year is a stupid move. If he fell off his bike he could lose half the skin on his leg at best. Rush hour on a Tuesday morning is not a good time to play dice with the traffic.IMG_8669

Speaking of idiots, there was another guy the other week on a motorbike zooming along the motorway with his hands OFF THE HANDLEBARS. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. He was just sat that with this ridiculous grin on his face with no hands, clearly showing off. After ranting on Facebook about it my policewoman friend questioned me about it and then later said they think they have him on camera so he’ll get done. Good! Because it isn’t just his life he’s risking.

And on that happy note…

What’s the worst thing you’ve seen someone do on the road?

Favourite type of steak and how do you like it? I really enjoy rib eye medium rare. I prefer the more fatty cuts just because they’re a bit more flavoursome.

Have you got any holidays planned this year?

Training and food lately

I know I start 90% of my posts about the weather, but I’m British soo… It is raining ridiculous amounts at the moment. I realise I’m extremely lucky to not live in any part of the UK that has flooding risks or issues, or places in America that were snowed under, but I can only comment on where I am right now. And it’s soggy to say the least.

Despite the rain and wind, I went out after work and did some hill training on Tuesday evening. I’d wussed out last week to do this specific hill because it’s not lit at all. It’s a long path off the main road and there are no street lights along it so it’s actually really hard to run up it without any light as it winds and turns. I don’t normally run in a headtorch unless I’m trail running when it’s dark, but I needed it for the hill.IMG_7854

Despite the rain, the shorts are back in action – as is my new Forever21 ‘Focused’ top (light and waterproof)

I’ve mentioned this hill before in this post, but basically it’s a12% incline for over 0.2 miles, which usually lasts about 3 minutes. It’s a beast. There’s a Strava segment on it as well and I love to test my fitness to see how well I’m currently running.

I did a mile warm-up then ran up and down the hill three times. I’d planned on four but three was enough! I had my music going (the only way I can survive a solo speed session) and just focused on my form (swing arms, use my bum, look ahead), trying to ignore the pain. The rain was pounding down but I was oblivious to it. I then continued on with my hilly route to make a total of six miles. Honestly, this run was awesome. OK it was painful and tiring but for whatever reason I felt like I was flying. I felt like my form was on point (or as on point as I can achieve!!) and like I was cutting through the rain. When I checked back to my splits and the hill segment I found I’m doing nicely in gaining back my speed. I’m not at my fastest for the hill but I’m getting there.

I love this about marathon training (when I get it right that is…). Seeing the progress, even if it’s tiny, is just so motivating each week. For me the two important things that really help my running are hill training and long runs. I’m always a bit weary of intervals and, whether justified or not, I feel like I dice with injury with them. But with hills I feel I get stronger.

Another important factor for me for marathon training is maintaining my strength work. I know I say this so often but my glute, leg and core work are really important for me to remain uninjured. This involves lifting heavy weights to keep my body strong; big compound moves like squats and deadlifts help strengthen not just your legs but your core and posterior chain. And the more running-specific moves, like wall sits, glute kickbacks, crab walks and box jumps help too. For me the strength side of things isn’t to increase my power or speed, it’s to keep me healthy. It’s also a something I thoroughly enjoy doing – who’d have thought?! Fabletics leggings

I know my focus shouldn’t be on how much I can lift and squat but there is something so empowering about increasing your weights or reps. It’s also, in a weird way, a nice comfort to know I have the love of lifting to fall back to if running and me have another fall out (*touch wood* I don’t!).

I just need to make sure I don’t burn out. Nutrition is a big factor in this and I can assure you, I’m eating lots of good nutritious food. For one thing I’m on a culinary exploration of all the cheeses. So far I’m in love with Stilton… but Camembert and Brie make regular appearances. I’ve found some nice cheese from MuscleFood as well (the French Chevre and Lincolnshire Poacher).Cheese

Lately a lot of my dinners have been fairly simple with meat, veg and cheese. And honestly, I’m loving it!

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Most of my carbs happen earlier in the day: porridge for breakfast and with my lunch at work I have my standard popcorn (home-popped with salt and pepper). I’m not a huge carb eater, as I’ve said a few times on the blog. I don’t eat a lot of bread unless it’s good stuff at a restaurant and I don’t eat pasta. It works for me though!

Tonight I have an easy 5 mile planned, then parkrun on Saturday and a 16 mile run planned Sunday. The long runs are getting longer! Speaking of long runs… In a couple of a weeks I head to my grandad’s in Wales, who I’ve visited a few times. That weekend I had an 18 mile run planned and I mentioned it to him and asked if he had any ideas of good routes. He came back with this:Boston marathon prep

He planned an 18 mile route that compared to the Boston marathon course elevation!! How amazing is that?? I’m so pleased. He’s also offered to cycle alongside me to help navigate and provide a bit of support. I mean, can you get better than that? This is my 82 year old grandfather by the way, who has his own Strava account capturing his regular walks up and down the nearby hills of Llandudno. Yep.

How do you plan your really long runs? Do you go anywhere interesting?

Carbs, protein or fat? What’s your favourite? Unsurprisingly mine is protein!

What do you prefer: intervals or hills?

Rants and Raves #26

Every time I write a Rants and Raves post I have to go to my blog and see what number I’m on. Kind of shot myself in the foot with this putting numbers on them… Oh well, nice to see how many I’ve done though.

Rant: Sometimes I’ll have a little look at my blog stats and how people have found their way to my blog. Sometimes it’s from Twitter, Bloglovin‘ or other blogs. But it’s always interesting when people have Googled something and come to my blog that way. Some of the search terms make sense (like a product review) but others are bizarre.

“Jamie Oliver and his sister Anna” came up a lot in different variations. Yes I love Jamie and yes he has a sister called Anna-Marie (I had to Google that, I’m not that obsessed I assure you) but how this is relevant to my blog I don’t know. Probably because I go to his restaurants every other week I suppose.

And some search terms are just plain WEIRD.

What

There’s an Anna naughty pudding? It must be really naughty if it’s especially for me – I’m the cake monster after all and am rarely defeated.

This one really concerned me though:

Weird search term for my blog

No, that is not OK. And the fact it was used FOUR times to get to my blog is really worrying.

Rave: A recently opened trampoline centre in Southampton. This is so much fun. I used to do trampolining back in the day at school and loved it, so when some girls at the running club suggested going last Monday evening I was totally up for it.Oxygen Free Jumping Southampton

The place is basically full of trampolines and there’s also an area where you can do monkey bars, swinging ropes, tight-rope walking and flips into a pit of foamy cubes. We spent an hour bouncing around, larking about and just generally acting like kids. It was brilliant.Oxygen Free Jumping Southampton (6)

We were hot sweaty messes afterwards. I was really proud of myself for doing the monkey (ladder?) bars several times without falling. My upper body strength has improved so much! Some of the girls said they ached a bit the next day but I was fine, which really shows how far I’ve come and my gym sessions aren’t a waste of time. Because hello how important is it to be successful at monkey bars?? 😉Oxygen Free Jumping SouthamptonShame my flips were far less than stellar…I think I managed two (into the foamy cubes) and that was it. Graceful I am not.

Rave: I still love colouring. My mum got me a really cool colouring book (it even says it on the book, haha!). It’s a cake colouring book!!IMG_7497

Clearly my kinda thing!

Rant: Oh hi winter, decided to turn up did you? Though saying that I’m far happier it to be freezing than wet and windy. Let’s not have a combination of all three though please! I’ve been getting so fed up of cleaning Alfie’s paws and giving him baths after walks, it’s ridiculous. I cringe when I hear him shoot off across the local field and all I hear is the squidge of the grass and see the mud flick up. To try and combat this cyclical pattern, I got him a lovely little coat.

IMG_7378A bargain £12 from Pets At Home

It partially covers his undercarriage as well which is very helpful. I think the word used to describe Alfie’s opinion of his new garment is “indifference” so that’s good I suppose…

Rant: And to continue that theme of ranting, this is becoming a regular occurrence…Wet trainersDisgusting soggy trainers after wet runs. I’m not tempted to put them on radiators as Martin Yelling suggested in MarathonTalk because my flat is tiny and the smell of wet trainers would just overcome the place. So sat outside my flat with newspaper in is the next best thing. It works nicely but makes me look a little mad to my neighbours. I have no fear that they’ll be nicked either – who on earth would want them??

Rave: Nike Pro Shorts. I think I have four pairs now. I love them. The colours are so funky!IMG_7049This week it’s been far too cold to wear them though of course which is a shame. But when the weather gets warmer they’ll be back again. The good thing about the gym is you’re shielded from the elements. The only thing is I walk Alfie before and after the gym so it’s very nippy in just shorts!

Rave: I’m still loving MuscleFood.com (<– referral link – you get freebies, I get money off). I can really bulk buy on meat like turkey steaks, chicken sausages, steaks, bacon and burgers. I had one box delivered to my parent’s house as it was easier than my flat and my dad kindly agreed to store some of it in their giant freezer. Unfortunately I forgot to ask him to separate the chicken breasts…IMG_7595Twelve chicken breasts all frozen together! There was no way to separate them individually. So over the weekend I defrosted them then cooked all 12 breasts. I re-froze a fair number of them and then kept the others in the fridge for meals in the week and random chicken snacks at work (is it weird I snack on chicken at work??).

I’m also currently obsessed with cheese. Instead of buying my usual Laughing Cow processed cheese and Babybels I’m now buying the proper stuff as I got a bit addicted over Christmas. I’ve been getting through Stilton, goat’s cheese, Brie, Camebert and Taleggio (Italian Brie basically). I just throw it onto my salads or grate it onto meals. So tasty and so much better for me than the processed junk.

Have you ever been trampolining?

What’s your favourite way to relax?

What’s your favourite cheese?