Post-Boston Marathon and Cape Cod

Just to follow-up my Boston posts, I’ll quick recap of post-marathon and the fun my mum and me had in Cape Cod (every time I type this I want to say Cape Town…not Africa, Anna, AMERICA).

After finishing the marathon and chilling for a bit in Starbucks we grabbed a bit of lunch…


The world’s biggest salad; it had everything in there from feta to chicken to beetroot to broccoli. It’s what I was absolutely craving. Big indulgences would come later when my stomach felt more up to it.

After this we made the long walk back to the harbour to catch the water taxi back to the hotel. My legs felt tired but generally OK which I was pleased with (though my hamstring was very tight). As we were walking so many random people congratulated me – and people who hadn’t even been near the race. From older people to teenagers, everyone had a kind word for me.

As I was only wrapped up in a foil blanket over my shorts and vest I was starting to get very cold. I had such a craving for a hot drink that we stopped in another Starbucks on the way back (a takeaway decaf, more just something warm for me to drink than anything). As I stood in line with my mum the woman behind leaned over us and said “this one’s on me” and handed the barista the money. I was shocked. She said “you’ve earnt it, amazing job”. It was such a nice thing to do!

As we continued on our way I was still clutching the goodie bag I’d received, which was packed full of really random food, like a bread roll, a protein drink, crisps and other snacks. I knew I wouldn’t need any of it and it felt like such a waste throwing it away. A homeless woman congratulated me and it made me think. I asked her if she wanted some of my snacks from my goodie bag and she was over the moon. I gave a few more items to another equally chuffed homeless person and my mum promptly burst into tears saying “I’ve raised a good’un!”. Bless her.

IMG_0297My finisher’s top and medal

That evening we ate in the hotel restaurant again because honestly the thought of going anywhere else just didn’t appeal. I once again had chicken wings, this time with a delicious blue cheese dip and a cheese sharing platter with my mum.

IMG_0300Yes I’m wearing my medal, and I wasn’t the only one!

The next morning we checked out of the hotel, picked up our rental car and drove down to Cape Cod. We stopped half-way at Plymouth to break the journey up a bit (it was about two hours). I knew there was Plymouth Rock to see so though it might be a nice place to have a look around. It was really windy and quite cold though.

Plymouth Rock

We actually randomly stumbled upon the rock and were, well, a little disappointed as it was very small and not much to it. We moseyed about for a while and then decided we’d carry on. Plymouth was a little bit dull I must say (though we were in the off-season I hasten to add).

We arrived in Hyannis, Cape Cod, a it later and checked into our hotel. Cape Cod

The main street with restaurants, shops and also the harbour and beach were only a short walk away which was handy. At this point we were quite hungry. And lo and behold, a restaurant so perfectly fitting to my post-marathon runger… a Brazilian rodizio all-you-can-eat. Hello, heaven.

Brazilian Grill

There was a huge salad bar which I used to load up my plates with salad and veggie – let’s not weigh myself down with unnecessary carbs after all! Winking smile And the waiters came round with all different types of meat to carve for you. It was delicious. My mum even enjoyed herself (it’s not really her thing but she indulged me in my post-marathon haze). My only sadness was the lack of ribs *sobs*.

Needless to say dinner wasn’t necessary. But we did go out for a nice drink in a local bar. Originally I was just going to have a diet Coke but my mum ordered a margarita and I saw you could have it iced, like a Slush Puppy, so I decided to go for it.


I don’t usually drink that much at all. I don’t hugely enjoy it – though I do like the odd Prosecco or G&T. But it’s rare. Anyway the alcoholic Slush Puppy was delicious and went down a treat.


In fact, it went down a little too well. I found it very drinkable because of all the ice and found that over half-way through it I was feeling a little drunk. Seriously. How much of a light-weight am I! My mum found it ever so amusing. I was off in my own little tipsy world giggling over nothing. My mum couldn’t drink her non-iced margarita as it was too strong and though I had a few sips of hers (I think that’s it in the photo above) I declined to finish it otherwise she’d have been carrying me home! It was a fun evening though.


The rest of our time in Cape Cod was spent driving to different towns and places and basically just chilling. Things were a lot more relaxed than they were in Boston, especially with no longer having an impending marathon hanging over us. We went to Provincetown, the furthest point of Cape Cod, which had lots of quirky shops. We also spent some time in Chatham, which my mum adored (lots of linen clothing and home décor shops) where the only interesting shop I found for me was a chocolate shop (easily pleased). But it was very pretty and peaceful.


I unashamedly spent $10 on a bag of ‘misfit’ chocolates, which I then promptly munched through as my mum went in yet another linen shop.

One day we went to Falmouth where we had some delicious cake and tea in an American tea-room. Though it was delicious, it was a very odd setting. I think they were trying to get the whole British tea-room vibe going but it just seemed a little strange with the décor and it being almost a restaurant. I don’t think it translated well.

Falmouth tea room

The cakes however did translate perfectly into being TASTY. I had lemon and my mum had carrot. All the about that icing (frosting!).

We then headed over to Martha’s Vineyard on the ferry.


It was such a beautiful sunny day we were very lucky! Martha’s Vineyard is a small island off of Cape Cod and for movie geeks like myself, the home to Jaws. Though sadly I didn’t get to see the famous Jaws bridge as it was just too far out. We had a lovely time regardless, going into the shops, having an iced coffee (Boston seems to go mad for iced coffees, they were everywhere) and seeing all the beautiful “gingerbread” houses.

Gingerbread houses

It’s basically a large collection of summer houses that people can live in when they go on holiday. But as it was the off-season there was no one living there and it was very quiet and actually quite eerie. It was like a mini village of ghost houses. It kind of put us at unease! But pretty nonetheless.

Anyway, we had a fantastic time in Cape Cod. It was the perfect place to chill out after the busyness of the marathon and the hubbub of the city. I ate lots, walked lots and shopped lots. It was such a great holiday. Sadly I found no ribs at all, but I did eat chicken wings no less than FIVE times.

IMG_0388Not even all the chicken wings I ate

They were just so tasty. America definitely does them right! And I found more cake, of course Winking smile and the biggest side of sweet potato fries I’ve ever seen at the Cheesecake Factory (our last meal before we flew back) – an entire large bowl of them! Even I couldn’t finish them.


I loved spending the time with my mum – neither of us wanted to kill the other one so that’s a bonus Winking smile

And now life is back to reality…

Have you ever been to Cape Cod?

What food do you love to have on holiday?

Are you a beach or city lover?

Boston Marathon Expo and the days before

Where do I even start?? [Warning: long post alert] So I’m back from Boston. I got back Saturday morning (about 2am Boston time, 7am UK time). Saturday was a tough day staying awake! The flight time was only around 6.5 hours so it’s not fully overnight. But anyway, I’m back and feeling more human (just). I haven’t finished my race recap of Boston yet so that’ll come (hopefully) towards the end of this week. So for now I’ll recap the days leading up to it.

My mum and me flew to Boston Friday early afternoon. I watched two films (Spotlight and The Big Short – both really good. Spotlight was especially interesting as it’s set in Boston). I do love long-haul flights for their movies!

IMG_9972Flight selfie

We arrived in the afternoon Boston time (Boston is 5 hours behind the UK). We were staying in the Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor. I’d booked through the Boston Marathon so got a discounted price and as it was connected to the marathon the hotel knew lots of information and themed the weekend for the runners (free yoga Saturday morning, free water taxi to Boston mainland on Monday, carb-based meals in the restaurant, etc.). They even put a finish line on the floor.


The hotel was located very close to the airport which was very handy (and had a free shuttle) though we were, as I mentioned, a water taxi ride from Boston proper. At first I thought this was annoying but actually it was lovely. The views from the restaurant were phenomenal.


We had such good views of the Boston skyline and a lovely path to walk along the water.


As we were tired we didn’t fancy getting the water taxi over and hunting for somewhere to eat. We caught an Uber (honestly, this app blew my mind – it’s like magic!) and went to Angela’s Cafe, in East Boston, which I’d seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and I’d also been heartily recommended by Anthony Rodriguez, a member of the DDD team.Angelas Cafe

As we weren’t hugely hungry we kept it simple with a soup for my mum and a chicken salad for me. We also had a HUGE stone bowl of guacamole and tortilla chips. Heavenly! I was worried that the place would be a bit ‘off-beat- for my mum but she loved it. Honestly the food was awesome and so fresh! The restaurant was very small but clearly a local favourite. I wish we could have gone back there to fully try out some of the other food but sadly we didn’t have time.

The next morning we got up early as we were jetlagged and had an early breakfast in the hotel before catching the water taxi over. The water taxi took less than eight minutes and was a lovely way to travel as the views were great.

IMG_0147Another cheeky selfie

It was a bit chilly and windy but otherwise lovely and sunny. Our mission was to head straight to the marathon expo first to get that done. We used the metro system, the “T”, and then followed all the other marathoners to the convention centre. It was easy to spot runners – they were everywhere and most of them either carrying a map that came with the marathon info or wearing Boston marathon clothing. It was very exciting.

IMG_0007Some firemen were stood watching the 5k ear their fire station and I couldn’t not say hello to their adorable Dalmatian

We stopped a few times to take photos of course. The Boston 5k was going on at that time so there was lots going on.

We found the expo and headed straight to the bib pick-up area. We were actually slightly early as they hadn’t even started giving out the bibs yet. But we only had a few minutes to wait – our timing was awesome.Boston ExpoThe expo was great. Similar to Berlin where there were large areas of different companies selling running-related stuff. As Adidas were the clothing sponsor for the marathon they got the largest area and I was literally in heaven.Boston expo 1

I decided to treat myself to some Boston merchandise because it was all so lovely and I wanted a few items with Boston Marathon 2016 on. It was expensive though as you can imagine! I decided to go for a black Adidas jacket and a blue tank top. There were the traditional blue jackets but I found the colours quite garish, though so many people were going for them and we’d see them everywhere the days after.


We carried on moseying about but I didn’t buy anything else. It was starting to get busy so we headed out to start a day of shopping, something we were both excited about. My mum, bless her, was wonderful joining me in the expo and I could see her getting into the excitement of it all as she was beginning to realise just how big a deal running Boston was to the US.

We got to the shops just as they were opening. We mainly stuck to the Prudential Centre, which is basically a mall with an observatory on the top floor (it’s a huge skyscraper).


Though we were tempted by the observatory and seeing the city from so high we were too distracted by shops Winking smile

I found a Lululemon and almost bought one of their swiftly tops which I’d be hankering over for ages on the Internet. It’s so expensive for basically a long-sleeved running top but it’s such a lovely fit and lovely material. It also had “Boston 2016” on the back. In the end I decided not to buy it (MISTAKE).

After lots of of shopping we started to feel hungry so decided to try out the Cheesecake Factory as it was close by, relatively inexpensive and easy. It was ridiculously busy everywhere now (runners everywhere). We had a 20 minute wait but we decided it was worth it as everywhere else was rammed. We’d never been to a Cheesecake factory before so it was a new experience.

Cheesecake Factory

I couldn’t believe all the cheesecakes and cake that were in the display cabinet. It was amazing! As we instantly knew we were going to have cheesecake for pudding, we decided to be a bit sensible and have a light salad for lunch.

Cheesecake Factory lunch

The salad was delicious, with goat’s cheese and chicken. But obviously the cheesecake was the winner here. It was ginormous.

Red velvet cheesecake

I went for the Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake while my mum went for the Salted Caramel Cheesecake. I’d love to say that I couldn’t eat all of it but that would be a lie. I’m such a greedy cake monster that I polished the entire thing off. I felt ridiculously full afterwards of course but I fully enjoyed it! That cheesecake will forever haunt my dreams now…it was so good. My mum, being a far more reasonable human being, couldn’t finish hers. Luckily the waitress took it away quickly as I was eyeing it up. God.

I rationalised that as the marathon was on Monday I could enjoy my eating on the Saturday but on the Sunday I’d be more sensible. In theory. During the meal we chatted away to two ladies who were running the marathon the next day in the table near us. It was incredible, everywhere there were marathoners.

We did a bit more shopping and sightseeing then headed back, by walking this time, to the harbour area. We decided to go back to the hotel to chill for a bit and then head out again for dinner that evening. We made sure to book somewhere before we got the water taxi back as it was so busy. We booked dinner for a lot later as obviously we were stuffed!

The next day I got up with the intentions of doing a shakeout run. I asked at reception where I could do this and they provided me with a handy hand-size map that showed different options – a longer 6+ mile run or a shorter three mile run. This was fantastic! I eyeballed it for a while then decided I knew where to go for my three miler. It basically ran alongside the water so it was lovely and scenic.


In true Anna standard, I did get lost. But amazingly I managed to find my way back and run exactly three miles! I saw lots of runners about and we all smiled and waved at each other.

Then my mum and me had breakfast again in the hotel. The breakfast at the hotel was lovely; it was a buffet-style affair but you could order off the menu as well. I ordered a bacon, cheese and lobster omelette to have alongside my oatmeal and black coffee.

Hyatt Harbor Hotel Breakfast

This set me up nicely for another day of walking around Boston. We decided to follow the Freedom Trail, which would take in the main historic sights of Boston on foot. It was quite fun as we used an app on our phone which would tell us information about each thing we saw and it was a bit like an Easter egg hunt trying to find the different things.


Basically red bricks would guide you to each different place and there would be a plaque giving information about different buildings and places. The app helped though giving a map and some context (you could use it offline).Freedom Trail BostonNot knowing a huge amount of American history (or barely any…) it was quite interesting. It also helped us get a good bearing on the city. This was really helpful for me as the next day, marathon Monday, I’d need to get myself to the Boston Common ridiculously early on my own from the hotel (catching the water taxi, then walking about a mile) to catch the shuttle buses to the start of the marathon, 26-something miles away from Boston.

BostonWhoops, my mum cut off George Washington’s head!

We walked down Newbury Street which was teeming with people. The sun was shining and it was a lovely day. We found a lovely little Italian restaurant, called Trattoria, for a light lunch.


Again I had a salad with chicken and goat’s cheese (I know what I like!). It was delicious and the atmosphere was lovely. We chatted to a table next to us who’s dad was running the marathon for the seventh time. It was great to chat to someone who had done it.

We did a bit more shopping in the Prudential Centre and I decided to go back to Lululemon to buy that top I’d seen the day before. Alas though they’d sold out of the Boston 2016 one… I was fairly grumpy but tried on a load of stuff and decided to treat myself (I had gone with a shopping budget) to a few things. Lululemon is expensive but the quality is good. I treated myself to two jackets and the swiftly top sans the “Boston 2016” on the back. (It wasn’t until later on when I checked the receipt I realised they hadn’t charge me for one of the jackets. Though I had watched the sales person ring them up and fold them! Unknowingly I’d walked out of the shop without them charging me for a £90 jacket!! My lucky day it seems! My mum joked that we could now never go back to that shop).


I also treated myself to a few Nike items (one long sleeved top and a tank top with Boston on it and personalised with my name – for free!).

We checked out the finish line as well – which was ridiculously busy.

Boston marathon 2016 finish lineThe Marathon Daffodils were lined up all along the streets and outside shops

We then spent some time around Quincy Market as well, which again was just heaving with activity. So many people! It was mental. In fact the entire day we couldn’t move for runners running everywhere or just people wearing Boston marathon jackets or just lycra-clad people. Everyone looked super fit and healthy. It seemed the whole city knew about the marathon. In shops the staff would be talking about it, wondering whether to go down and watch it (it’s a holiday for them on the Monday) and people would ask if you were running it. Though it was nice, it was making me exceptionally nervous. My hamstring had been really tight for a few days and I was so worried it would cause me issues. I could feel it when I ran that morning – not pain, just a tightness. I was worried about all those hills. My mum, bless her, did her best to calm me down.

Quincy Market is full of restaurants, food stalls and shops. We wandered around for a bit and then I spotted someone with a chocolate covered apple. Where was this!? I soon found a stall inside the market hall and bought one immediately.

IMG_0182 Nothing calms me more than apples Winking smile

We had already decided to eat a meal in the restaurant that evening as it was easy and I didn’t want to have too late a night. The hotel’s restaurant was very posh and looked out onto the harbour. We’d booked in the morning (or so we thought) and at 7.30pm arrived for our table. They looked confused and said there was no reservation. We clearly saw a woman write down our names, our room number and our time that morning so we were a bit annoyed. Especially as we had nowhere else to go really for dinner (without stress) and it was fairly important I ate a good meal. It was busy though and I started to get nervous.

Thankfully the hostess was very apologetic and got us a table and told us our appetisers would be covered, which was a lovely touch (and quite appreciated as the menu was quite expensive!). So it actually worked in our favour. Boringly I went for a salad for my main as I wanted to keep things simple but I just could not resist the chicken wings for my starter.

Hyatt Boston Harbor

The chicken wings fully rocked my world. As a starter there were LOADS. It was pretty much a main meal (for a normal person). Perhaps not my wisest choice before a marathon but they were bloody awesome. And you know I love my salads Winking smile

And then we headed to bed. Saturday and Sunday we’d walked over 30,000 steps each day. I was shattered. I knew this was a bad move before the marathon but at the same time, we had a great time and I would rather be busy and walking than sat contemplating the next day. It also helped me fall asleep quickly and deeply both nights.

And then the marathon…

What expos have you been to before?

Have you ever been to Boston?

Do you do a lot of walking the days before a big race?

Sundays were made for sunshine, long runs and roast dinners

There’s nothing like some sunshine to make everyone happy and full of good vibes. Spring is definitely on it’s way, thank god!

Dowds Farm

Saturday morning I was back at Netley Abbey parkrun. It feels like ages since I was there last having spent the last two parkruns elsewhere. It was a chilly morning but sunny. Because of an event on our usual course we were on our backup course, the cricket pitch. The cricket pitch is a Marmite course as it’s five flat laps which makes it great for PBs but boring as hell.Netley Abbey

Setting up the course is also a lot easier as it’s just one 1km-ish route we need to walk – rather than the mile of the other course. I spotted a rope hanging from a tree and couldn’t resist a bit of monkeying around…

Netley parkrunPhoto credit to Mike Head

One guy said he’d pay me a £1 to get to the top… I didn’t quite make it to the top but I did get a fair way up. I used to love climbing trees and stuff like this when I was younger.

As we got ready to line-up someone asked me what my aim was and I said nonchanlantly “21 minute something would be nice” as that’s what I’ve been achieving on other flat courses lately. I genuinely didn’t think it would be an issue. Until I started running. My legs were heavy and it felt like running through treacle. I literally felt terrible. My friend Mark ran up next to me and said “What happened to 21 minutes then, Anna?”. Yes, thank you Mark for pointing on the blaringly obvious Smile with tongue out Not my day! So I decided to just do what I could and get through it. To be honest, I probably deserved it considering how blasé I’d been about 21 minutes being achievable.

IMG_9173Photo credit to Mike Head

I felt cold (despite having warmed up) and just demotivated. The three miles just draaaaaagged on Mark kept me company until he raced off at the end to “stretch his legs”. No hard feelings (she says bitterly Winking smile).





I wasn’t bothered too much as these things happen – some runs are good, some aren’t. What did make me sad was because of my parkrun tourism I had previously dropped to third place in the overall female points table for Netley and there was only one point separating the second female and myself…As it as the last week for this year’s points to count until it resets for next year (weird split I know) all I had to do was beat the second lady at parkrun that day. Normally I’m speedier than her so I didn’t think it would be an issue.

My time was 23:03. Hers was 22:49. So I’ve come third, despite so much of the year being in second place Sad smile Ahh well. Just too much time off from injury last year and too many tourisms! Third is still good.

I got home after parkrun to find I had no water in my flat. I checked with others in my building and it was the same. So annoying as I obviously wanted to shower and do some chores. I also needed to cook some food for an evening at my friend’s that night. Luckily I always have a couple of bottles of water in my fridge so I could have breakfast but then I just had to pack my stuff up (clothes, ingredients, Alfie, etc.) to head to my parents to utilise their facilities. Thank god they live close by!

After showering, I prepared some BBQ ribs with a homemade sauce and some Buffalo chicken wings (original recipe HERE). The wings sauce was amazing. I’m definitely doing them again! This is what I used:

  • 3 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. Tabasco
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1½ kg chicken wings

I marinating the wings for a few hours in the fridge before baking them in the oven for 25 minutes (170C). They turned out awesome.Chicken wings

The ribs, however, were a disaster. I basically threw together a sauce as I couldn’t decide on any specific recipes… Pretty much Heinz BBQ sauce, tomato ketchup, salt, garlic, cider vinegar, bit of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. As my parents and me were heading out for a coffee and a spot of shopping and the ribs would take three hours my dad suggested I put them in on a timed setting so the oven would turn off automatically. I said to him they needed to be on 170C but he was faffing around with the timing settings and must have misheard me (and I didn’t check). So they roasted away at 220C for three hours instead.

Burnt ribs

What was the worst part was just how bloody amazing they smelt as they cooked and when we got back. I excitedly opened the oven…to charcoal. Devastated doesn’t quite cover my emotions at that time.

It didn’t really matter in the end as my friends had done two rack of ribs, a whole turkey leg and homemade chips so really it was fine in the end. We had a nice evening just chilled out chatting and enjoying some good non-burnt food.

As I had a fairly late night (for me) I decided to set my alarm for 8.45am. Normally I’m up 7.30-8am so this was amazing. I did wake up at 7.30am but rolled back asleep and it was glorious. I then got up and headed out for my long run. I’d planned a route for 16 miles and felt really quite relaxed with that distance looming ahead. In the back of my mind though I knew I was actually going to run 17 miles as I had an easy way to add on a final mile at the end if I fancied it. It was such a good way of doing it because I still told myself I was doing 16. If I didn’t fancy 17 I wouldn’t do it.

The weather was fantastic. Sunshine and not too hot. Perfect. A little wind but nothing horrendous. I headed off listening to a podcast and felt so much better than the day before. My legs seemed to glide along. So many people were out and about: cyclists, dog walkers, normal walkers. It was lovely.

(Ave. pace 7.55mins/mile)












There was a big hill on mile three (with a good downhill) but otherwise it was generally fairly flat. I added on the final mile as I still felt good, though I was quite thirsty. It brought back memories of hot summer long runs.Post long run

At the end my dad got me a glass of water and I sat down outside on their apple core that sits outside their front door. I love that apple core (obviously). For the rest of the day I was on an amazing high. Good weather and good running!

As it was fairly late in the day now I had to shower quickly and get myself together. I also forwent breakfast as we were heading out for Sunday lunch fairly promptly. We went to the Solent Hotel Spa (where my mum is a member of their gym) as they have a lovely restaurant there. My parents get a discount due to the membership which is great.Family Sunday lunchAs a starter I had a salad bar selection which including so many different types of seafood (smoked salmon, prawns, mackerel, etc.) and cold meats along with olives, stuffed peppers, cheese and salad. I unashamedly stacked my plate high! For main I went for the roast beef with a Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and vegetables. Perfection. Then sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream to finish.

Sunday lunch Solent Hotel Spa

I was well and truly re-fuelled! And ready for a nap…

I headed home, walked Alfie in the still beautiful sunshine and then chilled out. I think it should be mandatory for roast dinners and pudding after every long run!

How was your weekend?

What’s your favourite roast dinner?

Have you ever had a cooking disaster?

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.


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 (<– 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?

Starting the year with all my favourite things

Oh jeeze, it’s Monday…back to work, back to normal. But no point complaining, this is life. Gotta pay the bills! I didn’t blog very much over the break as I wanted some time off to just chill. I read a few blogs here or there but I have a lot to catch up on.

I didn’t do anything crazy exciting over the break but I had a nice time nonetheless. I saw friends, went on nice walks, spent time with my family and ate lots of really good food. Standard procedure!

I obviously fitted in some cake… 😉Tenth Hole Honeycomb Pie
I went to the Tenth Hole (an amazing little cafe in Southsea that does incredible cakes) with a friend and had the honeycomb pie cake… good grief it was good! I also took a slice of the carrot cake home for another time (I say slice, but really it’s a wedge).

As well as cake, there was running. Through my running club I found out there was a cross country race on the Monday after Christmas. I was planning on running around 5 miles so when I heard about the race I had no excuses not to join. I’ll recap that in another post as it was such good fun.IMG_7071

That evening, despite being exhausted and really fancying either a nap or an early night (hugely underestimated the toughness of the cross country!), I had my friends coming over for a games evening flat warming party. We played Disney Trivia Pursuit, which FYI is actually really hard. Some of the questions were very specific and there were a few films we’d never seen, like Herbie and Atlantis. It was tough going so we quickly moved to Cranium which was far better. Defeated by Disney, pathetic.

The next day I went for a lovely long walk with a friend and Alfie. I was concerned the weather would be pants but it actually held out and we had a really good walk around Queen Victoria Country Park.IMG_7090

Alfie, predictably, got ridiculously muddy. He ran through every puddle, every muddy track and just loved it. He got a good bath when he got back to mine and even a little blow dry (so fluffy!)!

For New Year’s Eve I went round to my friend’s, Lou and Tom’s, house. They were having a quiet night in as they have a little one and I’m not a huge New Year’s Eve fan so this was perfect. We planned the evening to be a major chicken and rib fest. I came with some pork ribs and pork strips marinating in a BBQ sauce (passata, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and a few squirts of the Heinz BBQ sauce).Ribs and chicken

My friends did a selection of Tikka drumsticks, Chinese chicken thighs and hot spicy wings. There was so much food (the picture above shows barely any of it). I was in heaven, until I was in a food coma… We also had some chocolate panettone which was delicious and lots of crisps. I felt rather full! We saw in the New Year and then I headed home.

The next morning was the double parkrun morning. My alarm went off at 7am which was hard-going and I hadn’t even drunk the night before! I helped set up the Netley parkrun before running in it. The weather thankfully was lovely, though very cold.Netley NYs Day parkrun

Photo credit: Paul Hammond

I wasn’t really sure how to run it as I was doing the Southampton parkrun at 10.30am afterwards. I took it easy before deciding at the end to speed up a bit. I felt incredibly sick though from all the food I’d shovelled into myself the night before… a whole lot of chicken!Neltey parkrun splits

I got 23:44 which I was chuffed with. Then it was a case of getting to Southampton quickly ready for the start. A bunch of my club were doing it too so it was nice to have a crowd of us there at the start. And the Daily Echo got some great photos.

New Year's Day Park Run, the Common, Southampton.               Picture: Chris Moorhouse.                Friday 1st january 2016

Photo credit: Chris Moorhouse (Southampton Daily Echo)

The run itself was tough going at the start as my legs felt stiff and my toes were numb (Netley had been quite wet and muddy so my shoes were soaked). Southampton is an easier course as there aren’t as many hills (just one incline you do twice) and it’s all on a path, so no mud or slipping.

I started towards the front as it was very busy (lots of my club who were really gunning for it were really close to the front). I wanted to give it some wellie but not go too crazy. Depressingly I got overtaken by so many people on that first mile. But I just pushed on and didn’t let it bother me.Southampton parkrun splits

I felt myself getting stronger as the run continued and on the last mile I was picking people off to overtake. I overtook many of the females who had overtaken me at the beginning, which felt really good as you can imagine!

I got 23:15 and out of 484 people I came 105th and 8th female, which I’m pleased with at my current fitness. My running club friend Michelle smashed it with first female!


I managed to overtake these two females on the last sprint 🙂

The rest of the day was spent, quite frankly, chilling out. My parents, grandad and I went out for a meal early evening to Coast to Coast (my current favourite restaurant). I was so looking forward to it! I pretty much had exactly what I had the last time I went (a BBQ platter to share for starters and chicken wings for main) but I made sure to sub my sweet potato fries for something a bit lighter (green beans) this time so I could fit pudding in <– strategic eating!Coast to Coast

I was really tempted by the ribs but I knew how much I enjoyed the chicken last time… My granddad however went for them and I was fairly jealous by the size of them. I know what I’m having next time!IMG_7154

My rib eating obsession goes back to my granddad as I remember eating ribs with him often when I was younger and him teaching me how to eat them (i.e. leave nothing behind!). He was in rib heaven. He even gave me one which I was eternally grateful!IMG_7158

For pudding I went for the Oreo ice cream sundae, which I’d been dreaming about since I last went. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but I kind of expecting some actual mini Oreos to be in it rather than just crushed up randomly. As sundaes go it was quite small as well – it looks huge but actually the glass is quite thick and narrow. For any normal person I’m sure this would have been enough, but for me (the greediest person alive) it was a little disappointing. I’ll try the carrot cake next time!

I’ll stop there! Basically my holiday was pretty damn good. Family? Check. Friends? Check. Cake? Check. Running? Check. Ribs? Check. Chicken? Check. Boom!

What did you do for New Year’s?

Did you have a good time off (if you were off!)?

Did you do any fitness-related activities over Christmas?