Week Catch-Up

Hi guys, hope you’re all having a great weekend. The rain has finally stopped, hurrah! Now it’s just very chilly. But dry, so I’m happy.

This week has been busy and long but I’m starting to feel Christmassy now. Might be because at work they have the radio on and every other song is a Christmas one…it wasn’t even December yet!! I loathe to think of what it’s going to be like now we’re actually in December…

At the start of the week I had a great (but very wet) 6 mile run, and on Wednesday I went for another run at lunchtime with one of the guys I went running with on Monday; the 6 min a mile guy. I was a bit nervous just running with him alone as I knew he was much faster than me. But actually it was great. Because he was naturally faster than me it pushed me to maintain a speedy pace. He was chatting away to me while I was on the verge of dying but it was good. Hard but good. We didn’t go off road this time due to it being a lot colder than Monday and we didn’t really fancy wading in the cold canal this time. In the end we did we did a nice 5 mile route along the roads.IMG_3065

I was shattered afterwards! Absolutely dead. But it was good to run at a good speed for a longer period of time. Just not something I’ll do many times in one week I think! I definitely felt it the next day.

Friday I ran with a woman who had a slower pace (9 min a mile) so it was a nice easy 4 mile run. Though very cold!

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I never thought I’d enjoy running with other people as much as I do. I was always so focused on my own run and hitting certain targets, but sometimes it’s just nice to have a social run! The time flies by. Maybe every run won’t be pushing the absolute limit to my capability, but it still gets me out there and I still enjoy it. Can’t argue with that!

Instead of my usual strength routines, I’m now doing one mixed strength routine and two plyometric routines. When I researched some moves and planned a routine I think I was a bit over ambitious. I thought I could do the routine three times. I barely did it twice!! It killed me. I didn’t think it’d be so hard. But more on that another time!

On Thursday I was house sitting for my parents for the night as they went off and enjoyed an evening out in London. It really stresses me out not having my own things and the same routine so I really wasn’t looking forward to it. But it wasn’t too bad in the end. Ben and me just got an Indian take-away (chicken tikka mmmm – easier than bringing food and cooking) and enjoyed watching all the dogs together. Alfie came with us and my parents have three of their own dogs.

DogsLeft to right: Lexi, Dylan, Sam and Alfie

Alfie and Lexi are the same breed (Cavalier King Charles cross with a Westland Terrier) and they go crazy when they see each other.

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They love to play fight with each other and run about the house like mad things. The other two aren’t so bothered…

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My parents were so lovely. They left Ben and me a HUGE box of chocolates to say thank you.

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Which obviously were a GREAT Friday night treat.

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Honestly, these are AMAZING. Jam Roly Pudding, Bakewell Tart, Rhubarb Crumble, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Lemon Meringue…and more!! Though after a few you do start feeling a leeetle bit sick. But so worth it.

And my new favourite ‘go-to’ meal:

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Balsamic chicken (chicken fried in balsamic vinegar with a touch of sugar to caramelise it into a sticky sauce) with mashed cauliflower and mozzarella cheese. Heaven. And so simple.

Oh, and the other highlight of my week…getting in from work and getting started on dinner while Ben plays ball with Alfie. Ben kicks Alfie’s tennis ball, it hits his wine glass full of red wine, red wine sprays all over our living room wall, sofa and floor. I just love my husband.

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Not sure why it went blue, but needless to say it STUNK. So we had to spend the next half an hour attempting to damage control. It needs repainting unfortunately. Though Ben loves the fact he gets to decorate. He loves doing manly things like painting and DIY. Well, there’s a silver lining for someone I guess…

What have you guys been up to?

Have you tried plyometrics before? Any tips?

Running with the enemy

Hi guys, and to all those who are enjoying/have enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving, I hope you’ve had a great day!

In light of this event, I thought I’d have a think about what I’m thankful for. So I’m linking up with Jessie‘s Thankful Thursday post. Seems appropriate, even though I’m not American, to get involved!

It’s easy to dash through day-to-day life without stopping and taking stock of what you’ve got. It’s often the case that is when something happens that you realise how much you really appreciate something. For instance, you’re car breaking down. It’s an absolute nightmare situation – how do you get to work? How do you get to the shop to buy food for the week? You forget how easy a car makes your life.

Definitely my family is top of my list of what I’m thankful for. I know that whatever happens they’ll be there for me. Ben consistently supports me in anything I do and I always know he’s there if something goes wrong.

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The great thing about Ben is he is so selfless. He would drop anything and everything if I needed him. I can’t be thankful enough for him. He’s teaching me to be a less selfish person – it’s baby steps!

Obviously I’m also thankful for my parents and close family. I’ve been extremely lucky to have had a great childhood and a good upbringing.

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Both my sister and me are polite and well-educated and this is largely due to my parents hard work with guiding us through life (sorry this sounds a bit sappy I know).

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And the best mum in the world. I’ll let her off for sending me to school with a broken arm (oh did I mention she was a nurse…?) The heart the size of the country, a wardrobe the size of a small planet. Luckily we have the same size feet and the same love for Accessorize Smile

I’m also thankful for my health and fitness. There are so many people in the world not blessed with the ability to even walk, so I’m thankful for having a complete working body.

I’m thankful for my job as I know a lot of people are unemployed and are struggling at the moment. So I’m thankful for both Ben and my income that has allowed us to live in our little house and start building towards a lovely life.

There are so many other things I’m thankful for and I could write all day, but I’ll leave it there.

So today I will be running with the enemy, aka our current customer. No I am joking, they are lovey. It’s just I’m a little nervous as I’m just used to being in meetings with them and having arguments professional disputes with them regarding different factors. There’s quite a few of them and they invited me out this lunchtime and honestly I’m scared. I don’t know how fast they are. I don’t know if we will chat…or if it’s purely running. It was easy with the guy I was running with before as he was on my team and we laugh and joke all the time in the office. Well, I’ll keep you informed!

Speaking of my last run (Wednesday lunchtime), I got drenched and muddy. Lovely. Perfect for half-way through a working day. I did shower but I don’t wash my hair after a lunchtime run so it wasn’t the best look I’ve had for the afternoon. But it was a good run and though I grumbled and complained when he persuaded me to run (I had originally looked out the window and said “hell no” because of the weather), I’m glad I went. I didn’t take a photo of my Garmin, but we ran 3 miles in 26 mins. Not too bad.

This weekend is the start of my Pilates class on Saturday. I’m really looking forward to this as I had a couple of one-to-ones and loved it. And then Saturday night we’re off to Ben’s mums for a nice meal. Sunday I’m hoping to do a run but we’ll see how Saturday night goes I guess hehe.

What are you up to this weekend?

What are you thankful for?

Pumpkins, Pilates and Cinderella

And it’s Monday again! One week closer to Christmas…

This weekend was great. We didn’t really ‘do’ anything but we got a lot done, if that makes sense. Basically, we had no plans to go anywhere but we had a lot of chores to get on with. Mundane things like getting the car washed, then cleaning and vacuuming the inside, putting things up the loft, taking clothes to the Army and Navy… Yep, exciting stuff. I’m a married lady now, this is my life now! Winking smile And I love it! It’s just nice to get all those niggling jobs done that have been driving me mad. I’m a bit of an obsessive cleaner so I’m in my element.

I saw my sister, brother-in-law and their little girl, Ellie. We gave her her present from Disney World (a Barbie Cinderella) and she was over the moon. Though I ended up having to speak for the Barbie in a ‘princess voice’ for longer than comfortable period of time. Though I think I got off lightly, Ben was her human climbing frame haha.

I also went to a local farm shop to buy a pumpkin. I could have bought so much veg but I refrained as I’m pretty sure Ben would get fed up eating squashes every night…

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So I just bought a large pumpkin, a mini pumpkin (a munchkin!) and a corn on the cob. All for under a fiver. Bargain!

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How cute is that little thing?? I just had to buy it. For 30p you can hardly not, right? I made a delicious soup with that little guy – which I will share for WIAW soon.

Last week we decided to have a bit of a different meal for Friday night. We tend to have more exciting meals on Friday and Saturday just because it’s the weekend. So I bought some chunky pork ribs from the butchers and a jar of BBQ sauce (I was feeling lazy – I know I could have easily made one myself…next time). So Friday morning I marinated the ribs in the sauce and put it in the fridge. I wasn’t too sure how to cook ribs to be honest so I Googled it as work. FIVE HOURS they said to cook it. Well, that isn’t going to happen for sure! So I found a ‘quick’ recipe for an hour and a half. OK, fair enough, ribs are probably better slow roasted but I’m a busy hungry girl and I really wanted them Friday night. You know when you just really fancy something? Anyway, that evening after roasting them for a ridiculously long time in the oven (almost 2 hours) they were done (or if they weren’t, I didn’t care by this point. It was either uncooked ribs or my own arm that I would have eaten at this point).

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They were pretty yummy I have to say. We had one and a half ribs each. I had some veg on the side while Ben had some garlic bread. Thumbs up.

On a food-related side-tangent…I’ve been really enjoying my salads as of late as well. I tend to throw in whatever really, and usually a bit of fruit. Recently it’s plums or mainly figs but I’ve just bought a mango so I’m really looking forward to that.

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Salads left-to-right: flaked tinned salmon, goat’s cheese with fig, fried egg, more figs and mozzarella, & homemade paprika hummus and two hard-boiled eggs.

On Saturday I went to my first Pilates class. It was a one-on-one so I get the basics before actually starting a class. It was brilliant. The instructor was very good. Really good at giving direction and clearly knew her stuff! We used the reformer machine [see below picture] as well, which I was so excited about.

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My legs were in the air and everything. It was crazy. The hour whizzed by. I’m going again next Saturday and I’m so excited. I wanted a less intense exercise to strengthen and stretch my muscles, and this was perfect. The only tricky part was how technical it all was. Imprinting your spine, inhaling here, exhaling there, neutral position…a lot of technical jargon that I need to master. But it’ll come I guess.

So that was pretty much it! Here’s what I’m wearing.

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Blazer and belt from New Look, top from Warehouse, jeans from Top Shop.

I’m loving the blazer look – stylish while warm! The best kind of outfits in my opinion.

What did you get up to over the weekend?

Have you done Pilates before?

WIAW Wedding Special

Hello! Well, I definitely feel a bit more human and recovered now. Still tired and not at all happy to be back at work, but such is life! It’s not that bad actually, I love my job. It’s just, seriously, I fee like I need another holiday to recover!

I thought in the spirit of WIAW, I would do a post about my wedding day. (Thank you Jenn for hosting WIAW once again). So let’s get started.

 

The Wedding Day: I was so worried I wasn’t going to sleep the night before the wedding, but it wasn’t too bad actually. Which was a relief as it was such a long day! Now, I know this sounds mental, but I set my alarm for 6am and went for a run in the morning. My whole family thought I was mad doing it but it was something special to me that I wanted to do. I knew the whole day would be crazy and I wouldn’t get a minute alone (quite rightly) so I thought if I went for a run then I’d get some piece of mind and just some time for me – does that make sense? It was such a good run. I felt so excited the whole time and my tummy was filled with butterflies. I hadn’t set myself any targets or speed to hit, I just told myself I wanted to get to the beach and just enjoy the run. I got to the beach just as the sun began to rise.

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It was perfect. I just felt so light and care-free and happy. In the end I ran 5.5miles at a pretty good pace and just felt exhilarated

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Then the getting ready process began. After showering, my mum, my sister and Ellie (her daughter) headed to the hairdressers.

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We spent a fair amount of time there! My veil was so long I had to put it in a bag to take it back home as it was nestled securely in my hair and couldn’t be removed and we didn’t want it to drag on the floor.

Then we got back and I had breakfast: porridge. Nothing fancy. Nothing different. Just something I love to keep my energy up for a very hectic day.

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I had a mini panic at home when I was doing my make-up. I managed to get foundation on my veil! Honestly, only I could do this. Then ensued my mum and sister repeatedly trying to reassure me that they couldn’t see it. I wasn’t convinced. Then I got into my dress. Such a simple sentence. Let me tell you, not an easy thing. What with my make-up on, my veil and my hair it was a nightmare. My sister suggested I step into the dress. Failure. Next attempt was me going up through the dress. Failure. My arm got stuck and I stood there in my heels and underwear half in the dress with one arm in the air with my sister laughing at me. I’m sure it was hilarious to see… Finally we managed to get me into it (with the help of a few other family members to tie and tighten the corset). Whew.

Then we were almost good to go.

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The journey to the church was so nerve-wracking. My dad was nervous, I was nervous. But we got there on time and then my legs starting shaking. Actually shaking. Walking down the aisle was surreal. I just wanted to look at everyone and then right at the end looked at Ben and he just had this huge grin. I got to the alter and he could see how nervous I was and grabbed my hand to reassure me. Then my legs stopped shaking.

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Then all I remember are lots of photos. Lots of congratulations. Lots of hugging. A lot of love basically. Then we were rushed off to the reception venue.

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Then what seemed like two minutes later we had the receiving line where you literally have 30 seconds to speak to everyone individually. Then after everyone had taken their seat we were called into the room as Mr Smith and Mrs Smith-James!

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This is the view from the top table of the room.

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Then a sneaky one of the two of us in the mirror behind the table. The speeches were brilliant. Hideously embarrassing one from my dad (as expected I suppose) but very heart-felt as well. He even arranged for an apple to be brought out to me as it’s fairly common knowledge of my love for apples…

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Ben’s speech was very touching and lovely. I got all tearful! And then the best man…well it was legendary. Absolutely hilarious. He started the speech by telling Ben to put his hand on mine. And then finished by saying “And Ben, that’s the last time you’ll ever have the upper hand now”.

Lunch: it was 5pm by the time lunch (dinner? Wedding breakfast?) was served. I hadn’t even realised how hungry I was at this point! It was crazy.

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The starter was melon with a kiwi dressing. This was lovely but complete awoke my hunger.

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Dinner was garlic jus chicken with roasted vegetables and roast potatoes. It was yummy and very filling.

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Dessert was apple meringue. And it was SO GOOD. I could eat this every day. We chose that dessert because I love apples (obviously) and Ben’s a meringue monster so it seemed fitting.

And obviously there was cake later.

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The bottom layer was lemon sponge, the middle was vanilla and the top was fruit. We chose this cake because I am literally the most clumsy person in the world and it just seemed perfect. We kept it a surprise from everyone so it was brilliant to see their faces.

We had way too much cake though (is that an issue…?) so the day after the wedding we sliced and diced the left-overs of the lemon and vanilla layers and put them in the freezer.

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Just a little bit left over… We still have the top tier for us to keep as well which will last for years. So pretty much cake all year round, woohoo!

And let’s not forget the sweet buffet! I was paranoid that the venue wouldn’t put everything out right. When we dropped the stuff off to them the day before they just took it and said they didn’t need instructions but I massively panicked that it would look awful. So I sent them an email with a photo of how it should be arranged etc. When we got to the venue on the wedding day my dad hurried over to my and said “Anna, don’t worry. It’s all set up perfectly. They even had your picture printed!” I like to think that was my one and only bridezilla moment…

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Sorry for the poor photo! By the end of the night it was pretty much all gone! And everyone said how much they loved it. Oh I was so pleased Smile

And then we partied the night away! We had a band who were excellent and I’d made a playlist for after and it was brilliant. Honestly, I’ve never had so much fun. Everyone I knew and loved was there and it was just perfect. Everyone looked like they were having a great time and we just didn’t want it to end (well my feet did!). Ben and I managed to disappear from it all for a bit just to catch up with each other and catch our breath. I got some random photos of us as well.

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There was a buffet later for our evening guests but I was so stuffed from the meal and, er, maybe the 3 bits of cake I’d eaten (and let’s not talk about my visits to the sweet buffet) that I didn’t have any and forgot to take a photo of it!

After dancing late into the evening, we decided to call it a night. A lot of my family were staying in the hotel as well which was nice. So we got to see a lot of people in the morning. Everyone was feeling a bit tender and it was absolutely chucking it down with rain. We were so lucky with our weather!

Anyway, sorry to have rambled. In a nutshell? Best. Day. Ever.

Happy WIAW!

Almost there now…

What a busy weekend! Wow I can be super efficient when I want to be (an impending deadline looming ahead helps quick things I must say…W-Day is approaching sooooon!)

I got up early to rush off to my beauty appointment Saturday morning, then had to rush home and do some housework (yes I am that OCD). And then my sister, my mum and me rushed off to have lunch in Chichester. Chichester is such a lovely place and the weather was fabulous. There were all these little stalls about selling local foodie things which just made my day. I was like a kid in a sweet shop! [Apologies for the photos, it was very sunny and I was using my IPhone!]

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So obviously I had to pick myself up a little something…or three…

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I’m in love with these chutneys. I could have bought more than this to be honest but I had to restrain myself (well, my sister had to restrain me). Banana chutney sounds crazy, but it’s SO good. I cannot wait to start using these!

We then went to a lovely restaurant called Trents.

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That’s my mum and me.

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And my sister and my mum. We’re a very small family (with my dad) but we’re very close. I have such fun with my sister and mum, we all just have a lot of banter with each other and are always there for each other if we need them.

 

For starter we shared a platter of hummus-type dips and a baked camembert…

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Divine. We dove into it and hoovered it all up like locusts. Very yummy.

For main I chose a lime and chilli chicken salad.

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And I was STUFFED. Let’s be honest, I was quite full after the starter! But it a perfect lunch.

Then we ambled along Chichester high-street just moseying about really. We ended up in Lakeland Plastics which is one of my favourite shops (seriously, they have they answer for every chef’s problem!!) And similar to those mini-spatulas I found last week, I found this mini-frying pan:

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I mean how cute is that! It’s to fry a solitary egg.

And we also found some random items that made us laugh. A tin for all of Ben’s essential items! Winking smile

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You know what I mean though…all that random Man Stuff that get scattered about the house(batteries & screwdrivers…things like that). Hehe.

And this card made me giggle:

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Now this might sound sappy, but there was a violinist playing outside as we were mooching about and while we walked along I realised he had started playing the music I’m going to walk down the aisle to!!

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Canon in D Major (by Pachelbel). It was so lovely.

Hope you all had lovely weekends!