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).

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.

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.

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.

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

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!

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

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!

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.

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”.

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.

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!

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.**

Rants and Raves #32

I feel like I’ve been sleepwalking through this week. I’m really struggling with getting proper night’s sleep with hay fever. Humidity and rain makes it so much once I think. It’s the itchy eyes and throat that kill me. A trip to the pharmacist is required I think! Some random rants and raves then…

Rave: As most of you know I get up ridiculously early (5am) to be at the gym for 5.30am four times a week. Sometimes it drops down to two or three visits depending on my running and the races I have coming up, but recently it’s been four times during the week days and then once at the weekend. I enjoy the gym but it is hard getting up so early.

Anyway, I like to listen to BBC Radio 1 as I like the presenter, Adele Roberts, and I like the music. She has a feature on her show at 5.55am every day called “Resident DJ” where each day a listener has a chat with Adele and picks a song that corresponds with the theme (Top of the Charts Tuesday, Workout Wednesday, etc.).

I always hear it and then last week I thought “I should apply for a laugh”. I went online and applied. Then two days later I got a call from the radio to say could I come on the next week. Oh god… So I said yes. They said they’d call me at 5.50am on Monday to be ready to go on air for 5.55am.

I was so nervous on Monday morning. I was at the gym, sat in the changing room with my phone waiting for them to call. I had to do a 30 seconds little bio of myself which obviously entailed me saying about how obsessed with running and food I was…Adele was lovely. She called me wonder woman which was nice Smile

So far I’ve done three days. It’s fun but I do find it quite scary. It doesn’t last long but I get so flustered and honestly feel a bit like a knob with what I say. I wish I could be cooler, or sexier or just more interesting but there we go. I am who I am. I’m not built for radio. Today’s one was cool because it was Workout Wednesday so I felt on safe ground talking about my running and marathons.

What was also cool was when I finished on the phone on Tuesday a lady noticed what I was saying and came up to me afterwards and said “Oh wow are you the resident DJ for this week?”, I said I was and she went “yay I’ve met someone famous!” She was joking (obviously) but it was very sweet.

Rant: rain. That is all.

Rave: A little independent health-food style pet shop has opened up within walking distance from my office. I don’t usually buy Alfie treats or chews, mainly because he doesn’t seem to know what to do with them. With chews he just puts it in his mouth and then wonders around the place whimpering. I’ve tried cutting it up for him and then he’s sort of on board but otherwise he just doesn’t chew things. Anyway, I found some Alfie-friendly things at this new shop and they’re not full of rubbish (yes I do try and make sure Alfie eats well too!).


Peamutt Butter (though I think Peanut Mutter would have sounded better personally) and these Arden Grange crunchy bites that are free from any nasties. I figured that the peanut butter stuff could be on treats to encourage him to eat them. It’s funny because Alfie will eat chews and treats when he’s around my parent’s dogs because their dogs go mad for them and then want Alfie’s. But when he’s on his own he’s not bothered.

Rant: I paid £5 to be involved in my work’s sweepstakes for the Euro football.


Well, I waved goodbye to that money! Probably just as likely as England doing well I suppose Winking smile My money’s on Germany…

Rave: Food is generally always a rave for me. I’ve found I can sort of recreate the Nando’s experience at home, but in a more small and normal portion size. I buy Gressingham Poussins, which are basically small young chickens.


I roast it whole and then have it with some tasty veggies. It’s not a regular meal I have in the week but it’s a nice meal to have on a Friday night when I want something a bit more interesting but don’t want to go out or get a takeaway. It satisfies the protein beast inside Winking smile

Rant: Porridge has been my go-to breakfast of choice for over ten years now. I love it. I never have any toppings, just chia seeds and either almond milk, cow’s milk or goat’s milk. It fills me up and I enjoy it. I decided though to mix things up and try having something different for once. Everyone raves about eggs so I thought I’d give them a go. I like my protein so I figured it would be a good choice as I don’t tend to snack between breakfast and lunch.


So far I’ve tried three eggs scrambled with four rashers of turkey bacon (to be fair, each rasher is 21 calories so four seemed the right number!) and kale. It didn’t fill up my up for long at all and by 11am I was grumpy for food. I tried it instead with fish (river cobbler) and this is somewhat better. To be honest though, I still love my porridge and once I’ve got through my eggs I’ll be back to normal!

Rave: While at the gym I needed to use one of the boxes for my box jumps but a girl was using the one I wanted. I sort of hovered awkwardly nearby and between her sets I asked if I could use it when she was done, which she happily agreed to. She’s a regular early morning gym go-er too and often does some hard-core weight sessions. Saying that might imply (because of those oh so annoying stereotypes driven by the media and common misconceptions) that she might be bulky or mannish-looking girl, but far from it. She’s got a rocking body: strong but feminine. She can lift some heavy weights though!

Anyway, when she dragged the box over to me she asked my name and we chatted for a bit (normally I’m a bit of a gym ninja where I try not to speak to anyone as I want to get in and out fast and, well, its 5.30am). Anyway she said I should join her to workout (she has other girlfriends who she works out with sometimes) as I’m “good”. Ahh little fan girl moment though. Being told I’m “good” by someone as cool and strong as her made my day Smile

What are you rants and raves this week?

Have you ever been on the radio or TV?

What’s your go-to breakfast?

Don’t fear the eggs

Hello! Hope you had a lovely, lovely Christmas 🙂 Normal posting will continue soon, I’m just enjoying my time off at the moment. But I do have a quick post on one of my favourite foods (no not apples!)

I’ve many times expressed my love for eggs. I think they’re brilliant. When I’m all stressed out and don’t know what to cook for dinner, it usually ends up being eggs. A perfect source of protein, it goes with everything and anything and it’s easy to keep a pack of eggs in the kitchen at all times.

There’s always a nit of confusion as to whether to keep eggs in the fridge or not. I’m part of the “out of the fridge” group. I haven’t had any nasty food poisoning yet so finger’s crossed!

IMG_8846 Keeping eggs out of the fridge is handy considering a friend of ours gave us a huge amounts of eggs the other day that I’m not sure would have fitted in the fridge. He gets a load free of eggs from work apparently and was happy to palm some off to us. Nice!

Whereas I’m more a scrambled egg fan, Ben loves poached eggs. We used this cool egg poacher and, after a few bumps in the road (we forgot to put the lid on so it took AGES), Ben got some perfectly poached eggs to sit quite nicely on his toast.

IMG_8847I’m not a fan of the poached egg texture though which is a bit random I must admit. I much prefer the crispiness of a fried egg or scrambled egg when it has a million other ingredients in it.

IMG_2945 Or a meal that has firmly stuck on our weekly rotation is gammon and fried eggs.

Gammon and eggs And it has to be a runny yolk. It’s devastating if we overdo our fried eggs, or it splits when cooking. Sad times indeed.

It always irks me a little when I hear people are still harbouring a fear of eggs. Specifically the cholesterol in eggs. The British Lion Eggs has a great website which goes over this misconception about cholesterol (amongst other interesting things to know such as egg allergies). People used to think that you shouldn’t eat so many eggs in a day because of the cholesterol the eggs contain, and this would apparently increase the risk of heart disease in healthy people. But recent evidence suggests this isn’t so as the cholesterol they contain doesn’t significantly affect our blood cholesterol. This is great news for egg lovers like me 😀 We get through a lot of eggs in a week!

Do you eat a lot of eggs?

What’s your favourite egg-based recipe?

Poached, fried or scrambled? I love fried egg but I cannot stand ketchup with my eggs. It really doesn’t go in my mind and freaks me out.

***Full disclosure: I was asked to write this post by the British Lion Eggs in return for the egg poacher. All opinions are my own. The links are not affiliate links.***

Pre Marathon in Berlin

It’s hard going on holiday to run a marathon. The days before you’re so nervous that it’s difficult to fully enjoy yourself. Or eat and drink whatever you want, or walk lots and lots. You’re always thinking “will this help for the race?” and that’s not particularly how you want to be on holiday.

But saying that, there is something truly amazing about running a marathon in a foreign country. Ben and me caught a mid-morning flight to Berlin so we left the house at 6.30am. Though an early wake-up call it meant we could have a nice breakfast at the airport. Sadly not Jamie’s Italian, but Giraffe (which is also very, very good).

IMG_8008I had an omelette with lots of roasted vegetables and an avocado salsa (ooh err!) with sourdough toast. Thankfully this was quite filling as we missed lunch entirely because we wanted to get to the marathon expo ASAP when we got to Berlin. When we landed, we got a taxi to the hotel and then headed straight to the old disused airport from there where the expo was happening.

IMG_8019 It was huge inside with so many running-related stalls selling clothes, trainers, gels, nutrition…basically everything running-related. It wasn’t like anything was cheaper than normal so Ben and me just by-passed it all and headed straight to the bib collection. IMG_8027

One of the big rooms of running stalls

FYI it’s the furthest possible point – just to ensure you do indeed walk past every flipping stall possible. Not particularly fun for poor Ben who couldn’t actually run at the moment. Almost like a big “F*** you” from the Berlin marathon 🙁 especially when he wasn’t allowed to come with me to collect his bib: “runners only”. I’d have probably burst into tears at this point if I was him but Ben was a true trooper and just waited patiently for me.

IMG_8022 There was no queue to speak of which was a relief as I’d heard horror stories of hour-long waits. Friday late afternoon is the way forward!


There was a huge crowd of people all trying to get a photo like the one above and we patiently waited until it was my turn. Embarrassingly as it got to my turn and I stood there ready for my photo a woman pointed at me and said “your bib’s the wrong way up”. Nailed it, Anna.

Ben and me proceeded to then walk a million miles ages to find food. We headed in the direction of our hotel (which was a 45 minute walk away) and hoped to find somewhere en route, or worst case just eat in the hotel. We hadn’t eaten since 7.30am (except for an apple or two for me and an airplane snack for Ben) and it was now coming up to 6pm…Things were tense.

Hilariously we walked up the red light district without realising it. The first lady I saw I was about to say to Ben “oh those boots and skirt combo are a bit risqué, aren’t they?” when I saw her shake her wears at a passerby. Yikes! Ben and me just kept our eyes down and power walked on. It was rather funny though. Finally (away from the red light area!) we found a lovely little restaurant.

Berlin meal We both had beef Carpaccio to start (delicious!) and I, erm…had Caesar salad. It’s embarrassing to admit I know. I just love it! It was just alright: no bacon and no anchovies but good pieces of parmesan shavings and nice chicken. I went for a brownie and ice cream for pudding. It wasn’t dense enough a brownie for a true wow factor but it hit the spot.

IMG_8032 And Ben began as he meant to go on…sampling the local wheat beer. I had a few sips and must say I quite enjoyed it. Very light.

We stayed at the Hotel Berlin, which I highly recommend.Hotel Berlin We had a lovely spacious room with a 70s theme. It even had a mini balcony.

Hotel Berlin Bathroom The bathroom was lovely. It had one of those monsoon walk in shower things and a normal shower head for proper hair wash action.

Basically, lovely rooms, great breakfast (buffet – hello!), brilliant service, a gym (which I did not step into) and about 15 minute walk from the Tiergarten and a 30 minute walk from the Brandenburg Gate.

The next morning I got up at 8am and went for an easy 3 mile run around Tiergarten.

IMG_8039My best “I’m a dork” face


Beautiful scenery to run around in a capital city!

My dad had arrived the night before at a nearby hotel and so joined us for breakfast after we’d showered. He paid for breakfast while we had ours included.

IMG_8161I’d be lying if I said this was all I had. Honestly, this was the best hotel breakfast ever. Roasted vegetables with pine nuts and sundried tomatoes – heavenly! Little meatball things – so good! Eggs – delicious! Crispy bacon! All so good. And I had a pretzel style roll as well to go with this. Then followed it by a bowl of fresh fruit salad. The choice was amazing. From sweet pastries, donuts, muffins, to normal bread, German bread, fruit bread, pretzel bread, smoked salmon, all kind of egg, beans, cheeses, meats, cereals…honestly there was so much to choose from. So I ate everything. Joking. Though I did make a fair dent 😉

Then we headed out to see some sights. We walked past the Tiergarten and up to the Victory Column (the Siegessäule: the gold gold statue thing below) and then headed down the long road to the Brandenburg Gate. The roads had been closed off and ready for the marathon (and the skating marathon that would be happening later that day – yes, people skated on rollerblades the marathon).

Berlin Saturday After walking for an hour or so Ben and my dad demanded a refreshment stop…the beer marathon was to begin 😉

IMG_8069 I got a sparkling water and popped a High5 Zero tablet in it to make sure I stayed hydrated – it fizzed up quite dramatically! My dad and Ben got strange pink beers which made for a humorous photo 😉

IMG_8064 It was strange to see so many marathon signs and road blockages and made me very nervous!

We walked to Checkpoint Charlie and saw the remains of the Berlin wall (which separated the East and West of Berlin and only came down in 1989!) at the Topography of Terrors.

Berlin Saturday Sights It was very interesting but also quite depressing. What a scary time to have lived.

Then we headed to Postdamer Platz which is very urban and modern.

Postdamer PlatzAfter sight seeing for a bit we got fairly hungry and started to look out for a nice place for lunch that wasn’t outrageous in price, which meant walking a fair bit from the main tourist bits.

Italian meal in Berlin We seemed to eat a lot of Italian-style meals over the holiday! Ben and me had a sort of platter of dried meats, Carpaccio and roasted vegetables and then I had a feta and olive salad. There was so much feta! I was defeated. This has never happened before with a salad, it was just too salty to eat so much.

I had a major panic when I realised I didn’t actually bring any safety pins with me from home and at the expo I didn’t pick any up (if they even had any there). What a numpty!! I didn’t know what to do. We looked in a few supermarkets but found nothing. Suddenly we were surrounded by hundreds of children who had just finished the mini-marathon and all brandishing their medals…and they were all wearing bibs with safety pins. It was a cruel mocking of my idiocy. I tried to ask one lady for if she had any spares or if I could have her son’s now unneeded safety pins but she looked blankly at me and talked to me in rapid German. I was started to fret when I spotted a boy who was just taking his bib off. I leapt over to him and asked for his safety pins. He was German but could speak English and was more than happy for me to have his pins. Thank you!!! Panic over. And I could resign my position from being weird English girl trying to steal safety pins from unsuspecting children…

IMG_8089Then we walked back. We were almost at our hotel when we saw the skaters fly by! They were amazing. So fast. Though some of them were holding on to each other, creating a long train. I guess they were in teams?

Berlin marathon skaters

We then killed some time just chilling in the hotel lobby (Ben and my dad now on their 6th or 7th beers?!) We had walked quite a long way! Not a brilliant plant the day before a marathon…

Hotel Berlin lobby My dad, bless him, started falling asleep while reading a magazine.

Then later on we headed for another Italian meal in a nearby restaurant. We got there fairly early but within an hour or so it became packed with marathon runners wanting their carbolific meal.

Like I said in my marathon post, I had a large pizza and a massive bottle of sparkling water (I love European sparkling water, it just tastes amazing). Then Ben stayed with my dad in the lobby of hotel for more beers while I went to bed. In the end Ben and my dad had 12 beers each!!

Despite maybe too much walking (33,700 steps: over 16 miles!) it was a lovely day to just take my mind off things and enjoy the scenery and sights. It was so nice having my dad there as well as Ben had a partner in crime 😉

Have you ever been to Berlin before?

Do you do lots of walking on holiday?

How do you prepare for a big race?

Eggcellent food ideas

Forgive me, that pun is terrible… Today I’m teaming with British Lion Eggs for some egg-inspired meal ideas.

We all have go-to meals when you’re tired and can’t really be bothered cooking a ‘proper’ meal. Mine are normally eggs-based meals (or take-away when it’s been a really bad day). It’s funny because I know in the US (correct me if I’m wrong) eggs are seen fundamentally as a breakfast food so having eggs for dinner might seem a bit odd to those across the pond (more like ‘brinner’). But I think in the UK eggs are fair game for any meal really. Scrambled eggs, fried eggs, omelettes, etc. are all seen as a normal non-breakfast specific meals.

Anyway my go-to quick meals tend to help out with left-over sad veggies in the fridge as well so it’s a win-win situation (not for Ben though, veggies are never a win-win situation for him). I’ll literally just throw a load of vegetables (courgettes, chopped onion, tomatoes, mushrooms) in the pan, fry away in coconut oil and then throw in three eggs and maybe a bit of tuna or cream cheese, let it all set together and dinner is done and dusted. It’s sort of my take on an omelette but it tends to turn into a bit of a scramble if I’m rushing (British Lion Eggs website has a great list of omelette recipes that will far outdo mine!)

IMG_2675 Maybe with a side of Brussels’ sprouts…

For Ben it’s fairly simple: three eggs scrambled on two buttered slices of toast (brainwashed now into wholemeal bread rather than white). At the weekend he’ll usually have a sandwich for lunch and it’s usually tuna mayonnaise. But his absolute favourite is egg mayonnaise (really not my thing at all as I despise mayonnaise).

Another easy egg-inspired meal is a salad. Salads will always win my heart. And it’s all about the toppings.

Obviously the Caesar salad is my favourite. The best have boiled eggs, grilled bacon, chicken, Caesar dressing and anchovies (lots of great protein). I could literally live on this salad. I’m not sure what it is…maybe the amazing creamy dressing that’s like 100,000 calories, shhh! but it just rocks my world. This was one of my favourite ever Caesar salad meals in a restaurant (Trents in Chichester):

IMG_3049 Sadly this was a few years ago and since they’ve lost the egg. Devastating!

For salads at home it really depends what we have in the fridge to what else we throw in the salad: lettuce, chopped onions, roasted courgette, grated carrot, cherry tomatoes, fruit, beetroot, mushrooms, roasted sweet potato if I can get myself in gear…really anything.

This cheeky salad has figs, feta and peach in it and (obviously) a fried egg on top.

Mozz salad 12.10 My favourite thing is breaking the yolk and using the yellow ‘goo’ as dressing.

This one is all about the hummus and eggs.

IMG_2694 Maybe my combinations are a bit strange but I just love salad. I love that pretty much anything goes. As long as there’s a good amount of protein in there I’m happy. And eggs are pretty perfect protein!

Eggs are just a great easy meal addition. Great source of protein, a powerhouse of nutrition and damn tasty – however you cook them!

What’s your favourite way to eat eggs? As long as the filling is good, I love a good omelette. But fried is always perfection too.

What’s your favourite salad toppers?

Do you like dressing on your salads? I’m usually not fussed but with a Caesar salad obviously I need that dressing!

***Full disclosure: I was asked to write this post by the British Lion Eggs in return for an egg boiler. All opinions are my own. The links are not affiliate links.***