In Bruges – WIAW

Hi all. Apologies for the long delay. We got back absolutely shattered from Bruges on Sunday night and then from Monday I’ve been suffering from being ill and just want to stay in bed all day. I went to work yesterday but just felt so ill I had to come home. So I’m currently camped out on the sofa (in a ‘nest’ as Ben calls it – lots of blankets) feeling very ill and very sorry for myself.

So I’m writing this post and then going to sleep. Sounds like a plan. I thought it might be fun to do my WIAW as What I Ate in Bruges.

We got up at an ungodly hour to drive to the station to grab the train to Waterloo, to then grab a taxi to St. Pancras, to grab the Eurostar to Brussels, a train to Bruges and a coach to the hotel. WHEW!IMG_3136

This is us hanging around St. Pancras. I was very pleased to have that coffee!! For breakfast I grabbed a chicken wrap from M&S and some fruit. In terms of breakfast options at train stations there’s not much really that aren’t pastries or at least resemble something healthy!

As my dad works in the company as well we travelled with my parents which was nice. When we got to St. Pancras we met up with the other guys from the company and we were given a goodie bag per couple which we opened on the Eurostar. It contained sandwiches for lunch (which we didn’t actually need as the Eurostar served food), chocolates, Christmas cake and a mince pie, a Bruges guide book and champagne!!

Bruges collage

Let’s ignore the fact that it was 11am. When the boss cracks open his champagne, you know you’re free to do the same! We amused ourselves by reading magazines, eating and playing hangman. Everyone was in great spirits (as you can imagine!)

Soo after much travelling we arrived in Bruges! And the hotel was beautiful.


On the Friday evening we had a quick wander around Bruges before showering and getting ready for our mussels and frites night out.


It was just lovely and I was very excited about our next day outing to explore the city. But first the dinner. We got dressed up reasonably smart…


And then met up in the hotel bar with the other guys who were going as well. And this is when I began drinking…I thought that I must try the beer as it’s a speciality in Bruges. However, it is very strong. I’m not usually a beer drinker but it was nice.


And then we moved on to the restaurant. The starter was like a little preparation of what was to come.


Some spaghetti, tomato sauce and a few moules. And then dinner was just a MAMMOTH bowl of never-ending mussels and chips.


They just kept bringing them out whenever we got near the bottom. And honestly, I couldn’t stop. They were so damn tasty. As were the gin and tonics… whoops. So needless to say that I never want to see another mussel again for a while at least. And in the morning I was pretty certain I’d never drink another G&T again either!!

So I woke up Saturday morning feeling a little delicate. But I enjoyed a nice breakfast in the hotel of smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, a seeded roll and a slice of fruit bread.


We spent the day walking around the beautiful buildings and streets and, of course, the shops.

Bruges sights

We went into a lot of chocolate shops, as you can imagine…and brought a fair amount home!


We stopped for lunch in a tiny little tearoom. Tearooms were prolific in Bruges; all very small and quaint. I chose a light smoked salmon salad as I knew Saturday night would be quite a big meal.


Very yummy and freshly prepared. We then looked around the Christmas markets and partook in some more ‘must-do’ Belgium activities…i.e. eating Belgium waffles!!


It was surprising how light and fluffy it was. The texture was very pastry-like rather than stodgy pancake. I’ll pretend that made it healthier hehe. And Ben enjoyed some gluhwein (mulled wine).


I wasn’t quite ready to begin drinking just yet…

So after a quick nap, Ben and I got ready for the big evening party. We had a pre-dinner drink in the hotel bar with everyone (yes, this is how it always seems to start) and then left for the restaurant where we given champagne and canapés. Very posh.

Then we sat down for dinner to begin. You know you’re in for a good meal when there are FOUR forks.


I started with goat’s cheese tart with a mango salad.


Very yummy! Then the music started and people got up and danced, my parents leading the way!


So I obviously tugged Ben onto the dance floor too, along with all the other smiling wives and grumbling husbands haha.

Then there was sorbet to ‘cleanse the pallet’.


Then followed the main. I went for a trio of dover soles.


Then more dancing and more drinking…


And more food…


Fruit salad for pudding. Though obviously I tried some of Ben’s…


Chocolate mouse in a bauble!! The top bit was marzipan. How cool is that?? And yes, it was DIVINE. I kicked myself for not ordering it.

And, honestly, if that wasn’t enough there was then cheese. And THEN muffins and chocolates!!! I was finished by nibbling at the cheese though. I mean if anyone seriously had room for the muffins I applaud them. The person I was sat with though jokingly threw all the chocolates in my handbag. And there they stayed Smile They are now in the fridge. Hey, you gotta take what you’re given!

So we got in fairly late after much dancing. And woke up feeling fragile…to have an EIGHT HOUR journey home (coach, two trains, taxi, another train & car). Needless to say I was in bed by 9 and fast asleep Sunday night! It was a brilliant weekend though and very lavish. I felt very lucky to be enjoying it all to be honest. I knew the parties were good as my dad has been with the company for over 15 years…but seriously, it was amazing.

Unfortunately I am now suffering from feeling very ill. I guess I partied a little bit too hard. And no, I have done absolutely no exercise since Wednesday. And until I feel better I won’t be. Humph!

Have you ever been to Bruges?

What did you get up to at the weekend?

What do you do when you’re ill? I’m just planning on napping and watching rubbish mindless TV.

What I Ate Yesterday

OK, so we’re pretty much in the second week of December and I am already feeling myself winding down. Probably because I’ve got Thursday to Monday off as holiday…but then I still have to come back to work and continue until Christmas. But the Christmas atmosphere is so infectious. Everyone seems to be winding down. What’s it like where you work? Where I worked previously there was a huge amount of stress and panic to meet year end. It was non-stop. Even emails over Christmas and panicked phone calls. I hated it. I guess it’s just different businesses. Before I worked in supply chain which depends a lot on fulfilment of the last orders and getting the books nice and topped off before the next year.

But I digress…Though I’m winding down at work I’m winding up (does that work?) for Christmas. The plan has evolved from it’s original state. It was just going to be Ben and me with Ben’s mum coming over to spend the day and have lunch. Now Ben’s dad is over too (Ben’s parents are separated). I’m over the moon that we can have Ben’s dad over. I’m just now getting nervous about making lunch. Three people to feed doesn’t sound so bad…now four sounds scary. And Ben’s dad hates salad and vegetables. This changes things. I need to have a think about our Christmas menu…

Now on with the important stuff: WIAW(thank you Jenn).


Here’s what I ate yesterday and some added meals at the end that I enjoyed at the weekend.

Breakfast: are you surprised? I can’t be separated. Pancakes come and go but oats are for life. Fact.

Porridge 12.12

This lasts me until pretty much dead on midday, when it becomes socially acceptable to begin lunch. I’m one of those people who can’t eat before 12, no matter how much I’m gnawing at my own hand. I don’t tend to have a snack between breakfast and lunch. I have a black coffee when I get to work and then maybe a peppermint tea before lunch.

Peppermint tea

Lunch: Two days in the working week I have home-made chilli that I make on Sunday. It’s nothing terribly exciting. Mixed beans, onion, chopped tomatoes, bell pepper, zucchini and mushrooms.

lunch 26.11

Sometimes I add some Philadelphia into it to make it creamy but I didn’t both this week as I ran out. Bad times. I had two normal Baby Bells and an apple after this. I like the goat’s cheese Baby Bells usually but again I’d run out. *Sob* Therefore a sub par lunch. But it was filling nonetheless.

Then I tend to have a snack maybe an hour later. This week I had my graze box:Graze

I nibbled consumed all the olives. They were lovely and garlicky. Probably not ideal for work but food over friends, people. Haha I am so totally joking…Sort of. And then a bit later I had a banana and an apple.

A and bThis tides me nicely over until dinner. I arrive home at about 6.30-7pm depending on traffic (bare in mind I leave at 5pm!!! I hate my commute!! And breathe…).

Dinner: last night I whipped up a new meal heavily incorporating my favourite ingredient of the month (coconut). Tropical Nutty Baked Chicken; I used THIS recipe from Julie. But I didn’t have any lime so used lemon juice instead. I didn’t marinate for as long as I should have as I was hungry (hungry Anna = whole new personality and no friend to anyone).


I loved this recipe! The flavours were incredible and it was such a simple meal. If I was more organised I could have done a lot of prep beforehand (like pre-marinating the chicken and have it sat in the fridge waiting). I had this with steamed green beans and a lot of cauliflower mashed with mozzarella. Beasty portion.


At the weekend I’ve still been loving my lunch of sweet potato, butternut squash and coconut soup (with chickpeas).


I can’t get enough.

And I tried a new recipe Sunday night. I based it on THIS recipe.

Chicken and plum1

Chicken, Soy Sauce and Plum Bake (serves 2)

  • 2 chicken breasts, seasoned
  • 4 plums, stoned and quartered
  • Garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp. lazy ginger
  • 2 tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. fresh coriander, chopped

– Preheat oven 180C. Bake chicken in a little oil in a roasting tray for 10 mins.

– Take out tray and add garlic and ginger, then roast for another 10 mins.

– Take out tray again and add plums and soy sauce, roast for a final 10 mins.

– Serve with a sprinkling of coriander.

Chicken and plum

I served this will beans (again) and cauliflower mozzarella mash with added spinach. Heavenly.

And a quick update with the living room wall (after Ben’s accident with the wall and red wine). Ben spent mot of the weekend painting, bless him.


He first washed the wall (again) and then used two freebie magnolia samples to paint over the wine marks. Alfie was a big help.




And then painted the wall using a completely different colour for our brand new feature wall! Basically painting over the wall totally with magnolia wasn’t going to work as the red wine was so dark.IMG_3097

And finished! It really warms the room.


I went for a quick run yesterday morning…


In the absolute darkness that is 6am:

Dark morning

Terrible pic sorry, I just wanted to illustrate what my corner of the world looks like at the end of my run. And it was stupidly icy. Scary times.

I did plan to go today at lunch but I’ve been invited to the pub for lunch…ahh damn, what a shame… Winking smile I’ll just have to run another time instead!

What are you eating today?

Pub or run, is there a contest??

What’s your favourite way to eat coconut?

Also, check out Laura’s blog for her exciting giveaway and her new amazing new website Uniquely Healthy she’s just set up. It looks great and I’m very pleased for her! She’s worked very hard and I wish her all the best.

Getting organised and Christmassy – WIAW

Not including today, there are only two Wednesdays left before Christmas. TWO. Very exciting! Starting to feel extremely Christmassy. You just can’t avoid it really at this point. It’s on the radio, the TV… Sparkling and colourful trees are popping up left right and centre around us – everyone’s uploading their tree to Facebook to proudly show off their work of art. And yes, I am guilty of doing the same. #noshame

So it’s WIAW again. This is when I get to show you guys the exciting food I’ve been eating. Thanks to Jenn for hosting. And it’s a Christmas themed WIAW!


This weekend I enjoyed some great eats, though not necessarily very Christmassy… Saturday morning I had my favourite oats and coconut flour mix:


I’m still loving this breakfast. My coconut flour is slowly running out which is quite upsetting considering how expensive it is and I can only get it online.

After this I dashed off to Pilates. I feel like I’ve got the hang of Pilates now. The breathing and neutral spine malarkey was a bit tough to get right to begin with but I feel much more confident with it now. I’m glad for all the strength training I’ve done because it means I can do a lot of the exercises quite easily in terms of execution. Its a nice small class as well with about six of us in total so it has a nice community feel to it. I’ll definitely be continuing with this class!

After Pilates I then had to race back home, shower and get dressed to then zoom off to my parent’s house with Ben. In the car I had a black coffee as I needed caffeine having not had any in the morning.


I love this coffee carrier! I might have stole in from my mum when I was round their house Thursday without her realising… Hey, it was dusty in their cupboard so I figured it wasn’t used that much…

My mum, sister and me then went to Chichester to enjoy a spot of lunch and shopping while my dad, Ben, and my brother-in-law had an XBox afternoon. A win-win situation for everyone I think you’ll agree.

We went to our favourite restaurant, Trents.


[Me, my sister and my mum]

We went there the last time we went to Chichester – before I got married!!

For starter I had a bit of a piggy portion of hummus dips and olives…


It was meant to be a sharing platter but no one would share it with me and it was the same price as a normal starter so I went for it anyway… It was beetroot hummus, watercress pesto and olives (I ate it all but all of the bread as it was quite a lot!)

For main I went for smoked salmon and king prawn Caesar salad with anchovies and an egg:


I decided to have the dressing on the side as I hate it when the salad is drenched. I’m not a massive dressing fan but this was actually really tasty. It was hands down the best salad I’ve had in ages (and considering I eat a lot of salads, that’s saying something!) I’m desperate to recreate this. The salmon was perfect. Ahh I want this again!

After lunch we quickly headed off to shop as it was already 3pm by this point.


Chichester is so beautiful with lots of high-street and independent shops. I love it. It was really Christmassy as well.Chichester

I did really well with my Christmas shopping. I got everything on my list. And I bought a different outfit for our work’s Christmas do…I had bought a lovely outfit from John Lewis but had a change of heart. It’s a jumpsuit but I got cold feet as I’m scared I can’t pull it off. So I got a beautiful dress from Monsoon for the same price. Fabulous!

I also saw lots of beautiful things that I wanted…and have explicitly told hinted to Ben of what I might like for Christmas.


I am loving the scarves that are around at the moment. So fingers crossed!

We had a lovely time mooching around and shopped until the shops closed.


Then we had to dash off to meet with our wedding photographer to finally see the professional photos. More on that another time Smile

After getting back quite late I whipped up a lovely filling and warm soup.


Sweet potato and butternut squash coconut chickpea soup (whew what a name) – large dinner portion for one (or two smaller portions)

  • 1 tbs. oil/coconut oil
  • Small onion, diced
  • Very small sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • Cup of butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup hot vegetable stock
  • Little less than 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup of chickpeas
  • Garlic clove, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • Pepper

– Heat the oil in the pan, then fry the onion until soft (5mins), then add the squash and sweet potato and cook until soft (8-10mins). Add the spices, garlic and pepper (no salt due to the stock) and fry for another minute.

– Add the stock and coconut milk and allow to bubble for a few mins. Then turn off heat and cool to blend with a hand-blender/food processor until smooth.

– Add chickpeas and simmer for 5-10mins.

(You could make larger portions to save for another meal but I was limited by the volume of ingredients I had).

I guess you can make it as thick or thin as you like but adjusting the amount of stock you use, but I loved it being thick. And I like soup with bits in as it’s a bit more exciting. Yes, I said exciting.

Then Sunday we got our Christmas decorations up. We don’t have a huge amount of decorations as of yet as we’ve only been living together for just over a year but we’re slowly building it up.


Quite pleased with how it looks! Nothing massively fancy, but enough Smile

So that was the weekend! Busy busy but got lots ticked off my to-do list so I feel quite happy and content. Though I still have the Christmas cake to bake…next weekend!

And lastly, Monday’s run. I brought my stuff in to work but by 11am I had pretty much decided to not run as I honestly could not be bothered. But then the running group said they were going and I got roped in. This is another good reason why I love running in a group. You instantly feel motivated when others are going running. And it was a great run! So I’m so pleased I went.


I ran with the 6 min/mile guy again and honestly it was like having a personal trainer. He motivated me to run faster and do some intervals, and then some extra loops to meet up with the slower paced guys.

I really felt it on Tuesday morning though!!

And it looks like I’ll be in Reading until Christmas now which I have mixed feelings about (i.e. the commute sucks – one morning it took 2 hours and half) but it means I get to carry on running with these guys so there’s a silver lining!

Have a great Wednesday!

Are you feeling Christmassy? Are your decorations up?

What’s your favourite soup?

Christmas, coconut flour and Ben & Jerry’s

Hi guys, errrrm how is it 21st November? I’ve been married now almost two months. That is mind-blowing!

I’ve really being feeling Christmassy. I love Christmas – it’s my favourite time of year. I love how everyone has that Christmas feeling; that expectation and excitement. I love the music and the decorations. And, obviously, I love the food.

What I hate about Christmas is this sudden fear of the dreaded holiday weight-gain. All these articles start appearing about “How to avoid the Christmas bulge” and “What foods to avoid at a Christmas buffet” etc. It sort of takes the fun out of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to throw myself into a giant-sized box of Celebration chocolates with abandon. But I’m not going to sit here and deny myself the treats that I so look forward to. Mince pies? Yes please. A slice of stollen? Ohhh yes. I just wish the media could tone things down a bit and stop making people feel so damn guilty about eating the food of the season. Come on people, let’s relax a little shall we?

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m working at the customer site at the moment. It’s quite a good team we have; there’s only seven of us and it’s nice and relaxed. The work is tough as the system that’s being developed is fairly complicated but we’ve got a good atmosphere. However. Outside our little bubble the normal business-as-usual life of the customer is working around us. And I don’t think they like us. They practically growl at us when we laugh. Raise their eyebrows when we have moderately loud conversations. And the worst part? They have the radio on. And it’s the same station. All. Day. Long. If I hear Skyfall ONE MORE TIME I might cry. Whew, sorry about that. Got that outta my system.

Right, so it’s What I Ate Wednesday – though this is Sunday’s eats. Let’s get started, shall we? Thanks to Jenn as usual!

Breakfast: I’ve been experimenting with breakfast. OK, still my usual porridge/oatmeal. But I’ve jazzed it up with my new favourite ingredient: coconut flour.
OK, it doesn’t look any different. But let me assure you, this has a heaped tbsp. of coconut flour added to it. It adds a lovely subtle coconut taste and makes it very thick and stodgy. Perfect porridge consistency in my books. And it’s added a lovely smooth texture to it now. So with this at 7am I’m good to go until midday (with coffee as well, obviously).
Lunch: during the week I either have a mixed bean chilli or a salad, but at the weekend I can be a bit more exciting. Usually in the form of something eggy. As enticing as that sounds…
I whipped up three eggs, some chopped cherry tomatoes, chopped onions and half a cup of pumpkin puree. The pumpkin was a great add. Really thickened it up. And made the eggs a lovely, er, colour Winking smile And I’m obsessed with Brussels’s sprouts at the moment. Might need to tone that down before I overdo it before Christmas – and what’s Christmas without sprouts??
Dinner: I decided to try a Thai-style coconut curry. Unfortunately I didn’t have any coconut milk but I thought with my new favourite ingredient I could attempt it anyway. I didn’t really follow any recipe. I just threw things together.
Coconut Chicken Curry (serves 2)
Blob of coconut oil
Clove garlic, diced
Inch of fresh garlic, grated
2 chicken breasts, diced
2-3 mushrooms
1 cup of frozen mixed veg
1 white onion, diced
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. coconut flour
1 tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp. chilli powder
1.5 tsp. dried coriander
– Heat a pan with the oil, then add the onion and fry until the onion is golden. Add the mushrooms and fry for 1 minute before adding the garlic.
– Add chicken and brown.
– Add the yogurt and mixed veg. Cook for 3-4 mins.
– Add the coconut, herbs and spices.
– Once the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened up serve.
It was really tasty. The coconut flour helps to thicken it up and the yogurt makes it very creamy. Perfect. You can add other spices to make it more interesting if you fancy – I was just using what I had to hand.
Snacks: yeah…I might have had some Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Brownie Frozen Yogurt. My favourite flavour and it was brilliant to have alongside watching Erin Brockovich. Anyone else love Julia Roberts? Brilliant film!
Fitness: I ran on Monday and though it went really well in terms of speed it really didn’t agree with me.
I finished the run feeling like I was going to be sick. It really wasn’t fun. I wasn’t sick, thankfully. I think it was a mix of pushing myself a bit too hard and I’m thinking the ice cream the night before didn’t help things.
I plan on running this lunch time with Mr Ego so we’ll see how that goes. He’s toned down a bit now which is nice. We motivate each other but I’m still finding the runs a bit too easy as his pace is slower. But you know, I’m not too bothered as it’s just good to get out. I like to have the company and it’s so refreshing to get out of the office. Though we tend to chat about work while we run which isn’t so good!
Important question: too soon?
Oh, also – check out Ffion’s blog (Chocolate and Respberries) for a great Christmas-themed giveaway! Delicious Hotel Chocolat Advent Calendar 🙂 Hotel Chocolat do amazing chocolates…toss up between them and Lindt for my favourite.
What songs are really getting on your nerves?
Are you feeling Christmassy yet?