29 weeks pregnant

The past couple of weeks have finally felt a bit more normal since lockdown is easing more and more.

And I’ve definitely felt more pregnant – or at least looked more pregnant!

The weekend before last, on the Saturday Kyle and I headed out for a run. He was going to run about 8 miles with me while I would go a bit further. The run felt amazing! Previous long runs have felt a bit of a slog due to one thing or another: the wind, the baby’s position and how tired I was. We ran a bit faster than previously and I was able to do 13.1 miles in total – and felt great!

Pregnant running is very similar to normal running in that you have good days and bad days. But I think for me, the worrier and over-thinker, I start to seriously wonder if this is it and my pregnant running is over. Then I go out for a run a few days later and everything feels fine again. Ups and downs! Sometimes my hips ache more than usual, sometimes I feel super heavy and tired, sometimes the baby is in an odd position which feels uncomfortable… and then sometimes it all feels amazing and I’m running along smoothly feeling incredible.

I’ve just learnt to not expect too much and to take each run as it comes. In my mind I’m counting down the weeks to the end and every run I get is a gift. I’d love to run until my due date – however that will look; run-walking, shuffling along, doing 2 miles here or there. I’ll take what I can get as long as the baby is still healthy and I’m enjoying it.

Anyway on that Saturday we were allowed to go shopping! Now while ordinarily I would have probably waited a while for everyone to calm down, I was keen to get a few bits and pieces for the baby and myself in terms of maternity wear. While living in leggings is a dream I was keen to change things up and wear some maternity jeans occasionally too. Everyone said H&M did really good ones so I wanted to check them on in person.

So Saturday we were able to tick off buying the pram (the Upperbaby Vista), car seat (Joie) and a pair of super comfy and flattering maternity jeans – job done!

And a few little extras…

With my parents, Kyle and I headed in Southampton where we had a John Lewis appointment to help us select our pram and car seat. This made things so much easier as honestly we didn’t have a clue and having someone talk it through with us was perfect. We were able to select the pram that fitted best into our lifestyle. We got to physically push it and see it pack away etc. This was so much better than trying to do it online.

We then enjoyed our first meal out in months at the lovely local Osborne View pub with my parents. We were sat outside (obviously) but under a partially closed marquee which made it a lot less cold. Though to be fair the weekend was so warm we were fine.

I had chicken wings to start and a mozzarella salad and a side  of chips (I can’t get enough of salty chips right now). It was delicious.

On Sunday Kyle and I headed to Bristol to meet with our friends, Kate and Jay, so we could meet their adorable identical twins who were born in January. Kate was so lovely and gave us so many baby things that she no longer needed – so so helpful! And then we headed out to Bristol Harbour for a lovely alfresco meal in Spitfire.

I went for the chicken (another thing I can’t get enough of) and chips and it was very tasty. It was just so nice to feel normal. Seeing friends! Eating in a restaurant! It was just fabulous.

Playing mum

We then hung out on the College Green in the sunshine catching up before grabbing some VERY tasty and indulgent treats from Mrs Potts Chocolate House.

Kyle and I picked up a couple of double chocolate stuffed cookies (drizzled in melted chocolate!) each and I had to get some of their rocky road again.

So all in all, a very happy, love-filled, calorie dense weekend 😉

Cookies or rocky road? I’ll always go for rocky road first and foremost.

Have you been out shopping yet or to any restaurants?

Just keep swimming… or running

I realise my blog has suddenly become quite pregnancy focused. Somewhat understandable as that’s what’s currently going on right now for me, and let’s be honest there’s not much else happening anyway!

I’m now a couple of days away from 15 weeks and feeling miles better than I was during the first trimester.

Some days I get a little bit of random nausea early in the morning but mostly I’m out of the woods. Just general tiredness really. And other than the increasing size of my boobs, I pretty much look the same as before. I don’t currently have a noticeable bump. If I eat a lot in the evening (like when we get a takeaway at the weekend) it definitely pops out more, but I’m guessing this is mostly bloating and the food I’ve just eaten. By morning I’m back to “normal”.

Other than my pregnancy, Kyle and I are just pootling along through Lockdown 3.0… WFH during the week, Facetiming family and friends and then getting a takeaway or two at the weekend to keep us from going mad.

Last weekend was nice as my friend Mark was able to join me for a 10k run on Saturday morning. It was just so nice to run with someone else! I did used to run with Kyle at least once a week but he’s struggling a little with motivation (no races, no parkrun) and doesn’t particularly want to get up early in the week like I do. For me, if I don’t run in the morning I’d really struggle to go later as my motivation just dips completely.

So anyway Mark and I were able to run together and it just reminded me how easy running feels when you’re chatting away with someone. Hopefully we’ll do it again soon. He’s coming back from injury so my pregnancy pace was luckily not too slow for him! (He’s quite zippy normally).

I’m trying not to think too much about the coming months if I’m honest. Kyle and I deliberately didn’t take any holiday other than the Bank Holidays over Christmas so we could carry more holiday over to this year. The plan being that we could go on a little “baby moon” (hate that phrase) before the baby arrives.

We have to take this holiday though before the end of March and I’m panicking we won’t be able to go anywhere because we’ll still be locked down. Obviously I don’t expect us to go anywhere abroad, but I’d love to go somewhere other than Portsmouth right now! A little AirBnb, some walks, some time together just the two of us.

I’d dread that we’d have to take the holiday and be sat inside our house. I would go mad. And I don’t really want to take any holiday after March for the 2021 allocation because this is going to help boost my maternity leave pay. Argh. But it’ll be what it’ll be.

So we just work weekend to weekend and try to find little things to keep us going. Like ordering doughnuts from the local bakery. Or trying new takeaways near us.

Delicious cake from The Parade Tearooms

Or going for walks down to Southsea and getting takeaway coffees and cake.

Anything to just keep it from feeling too much like Groundhog Day.

How are you doing?

Are you planning any holidays this year?

A weekend of fun and food in Brighton

Kyle and I just love Brighton and we like to go for a little mini trip just before Christmas.

This was our third time going and initially we were worried we wouldn’t be able to because of All The Reasons but thankfully both Portsmouth and Brighton are in tier 2.

We took Friday off and I got in a lovely seven mile run in the morning. Normally I’d quite like to do a run in Brighton but I thought it would just be easier to move my run from Saturday to beforehand on Friday so I wouldn’t have to take my running gear with me and we could have a nice lie-in. As much as I love running in Brighton, it’s also nice to lay in bed and chill with Kyle. He’s not as into running recently (for All The Reasons) and it felt a little sad me waking up early and doing a run on my own while he was back at the Airbnb.

Anyway my seven mile run was really lovely. I ran a new route down to Old Portsmouth and it refreshed things up for me a bit. My runs have become a little  samey recently. Just the same old routes, the same distances… my motivation was getting a bit stale. So changing my route up really helped and I really enjoyed the run.

Then Kyle and I headed to Brighton, all masked up, on the train. Our Airbnb was about a 20 minute walk from the station and super close to the seafront which was lovely.

The room itself was gorgeous – and definitely made me think to earmark if I wanted to do the Brighton marathon again (which is almost certainly something I’d love to do!)

We mooched around the Lanes and the local shops and stopped for a quick pick-me-up at a lovely café called Black Mocha. What I love about Brighton are all the independent coffee shops and shops in general. And they all offer vegan options for milk, which is great. We both went for a hot chocolate (I chose almond milk), topped with whipped cream, big marshmallows and huge chunky pieces of honeycomb!

It was delicious. And because we couldn’t resist we got ourselves a slice of the salted caramel brownie each too. Very greedy but very worth it!

We were then well-fuelled to do more browsing around the shops and enjoying the lights coming on as the darker afternoon drew in. It was quite busy in Brighton so we both decided to keep our masks on outside when it was super busy – it just felt a little claustrophobic round the shops. Of course we were part of the problem too…

We bought some doughnuts from Dum Dum Doughnuts (which we’ve tried before and are divine!) so we’d have some pudding or later and the next day.

Then we headed to Meat Liquor for our dinner. We went here last year and really liked it so decided to go again.

We both went for a fried chicken burger and I went for Buffalo and blue cheese loaded fries while Kyle went for cheesy gravy loaded fries. The food was so good!

We then ambled back to our Airbnb, watched Freaky Friday before munching on some doughnuts in bed. It was absolutely luxurious. I had an Oreo doughnut which was stuffed with Oreo buttercream – amazing.

The next morning we both woke up quite early surprisingly and decided to get up and get out for breakfast. We were going to go to the Breakfast Club, where we’ve been before, but then a café called Moksha Caffe caught my eye on Instagram so we decided to go there instead. While we do like the Breakfast Club it can get so busy and it’s a little bit over-hyped for what it is. We were so chuffed to have gone to Moksha Caffe instead as it was so good.

We easily got a table (I mean, we were quite early for a Saturday!) and both ordered the main big breakfast with homemade hash browns added.

I also had a carrot, apple and ginger juice which was super tasty. The breakfast was so good! From the homemade baked beans to the sourdough toast, it was very nice! We’ll definitely go back.

Then we headed back to the train to go back home. It was such a lovely trip to Brighton. So Christmassy, so full of happy memories – of which we added more too. I love this tradition for us!

The next day I got up early to meet my friend, Martin, for a rather wet and soggy run. I haven’t seen Martin in real life for maybe over a year which is mad! We had lots of catch up on and it was lovely to run with a friend on such a miserable day. I certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed the run as much on my own.

I ran 6.5 miles with Martin then 3.5 miles on my own before getting home and dry with a much needed bacon roll!

And of course we finished our weekend with another doughnut 😉

This was a Lotus Biscoff cronut (doughnut cross with a croissant). Honestly one of the best doughnuts I’ve ever had!

It was such a lovely, albeit tiring, weekend. I’m so glad we were able to maintain some kind of normality through all the craziness. Who knows what the new year will bring after all…

Have you still been able to do “normal” things you’d do around Christmas?

Do you prefer chicken, beef or veggie burgers? I love chicken burgers.

Things I’ve Been Loving Lately – October/November

So we’ve almost survived Lockdown 2.0, hurrah!

Christmas is just around the corner and I’m feeling positive for 2021. Here’s what I’ve been enjoying recently.

MINI Runner’s Gift Box

The lovely people from Adventusaur sent me one of their personalised running letterbox hampers which I think is just the sweetest and fun idea.

Basically it’s a little box full of handy running essentials. It’s such a great gift to send someone before a big race they’re about to do. It contains things like Vaseline (we’ve all been there…), a gel, Haribo (of course), a protein bar (handy for post-race recovery), amongst other items.

They’re a small up and coming business so I really hope people go for this sort of thing. During these COVID times it’s nice to be able to send someone something like this if you can’t actually see them. I guess it doesn’t even have to be for a race – but someone new to running as like a starter pack for them.

Free Train

I’m a big fan of taking my phone out with me on a run – whether for listening to music or a podcast or for the standard mid-run selfie/photo.

This is a very secure way to carry your phone and what’s handy is that you can fish it out very easily on the move, or if you want to stop.

I do love a running belt and the Koala Clip I have that attaches  to my sports bra, but it’s tricky to get my phone out easily if I want to quickly change a song or whatever. It feels super secure, doesn’t bounce and didn’t rub. It’s a great idea!

Floreseca Dried Flowers

I saw this on Instagram and just fell in love with their dried flowers. I’ve become a big fan of flowers in general but they never last long (obviously). However dried flowers obviously last a lot longer. And I knew they were about to launch their Christmas collection. They’re a small business so sell out quickly so I set my alarm for when they were launching and managed to snag myself a one of their Winter arrangements.

Ahhh they’re so beautiful! Love our sparkly and Christmassy they are, but not overly in your face Christmasssy, you know? I could potentially leave them up after Christmas – so very much worth their money!

Care packages

My amazingly talented baker (and runner) friend Emma sent me the sweetest care package recently.

It contained one of her freshly baked sourdough loaves, brownies and a GIANT 1kg bag of peanut M&M’s.

This was such a lovely thoughtful gift! I will have to show great restraint not to eat too many M&M’s in one sitting though haha.

Hello Fresh

So I’m back on the Hello Fresh train again. I really do love it. Previously I’d find myself scouring the Internet for recipes and wondering what to cook every week night for Kyle and I. I wanted healthy, filling and tasty but I was finding we were just falling into boring routines and bad habits. And takeaways, while I do love them so, were becoming easier to just fall back to if we’d had a particularly tough day.

Now we have three guaranteed week night meals of healthy, exciting and very tasty meals. I thoroughly enjoy cooking and this is just perfect. I love listening to a podcast while I prepare dinner. And then Kyle and I will sit down to something new and see what we think.

Most of the time we love the meals, occassionally (though it’s rare) we’re a bit “meh” (there was a Mexican tostada meal that didn’t float our boat for example) but we always enjoy trying them regardless and always feel full and happy. There nice and balanced too. It’s made my week far less stressful now! I also like that the company is very eco-focused too.

If you’d like to get £20 your first week you can use my link HERE (I get money off as well then too FYI).

Bare Grill’s Smokehouse and Mrs Potts

A few weeks ago I saw two of my close uni friends and we went out for an epic lunch at Bare Grills in Bristol. It was GIANT and exactly the type of meal I love. BBQ ribs, pulled pork, smoked sausage, chicken wings and brisket with a mountain of deliciously seasoned chips. It was epic!

How we then had room to go to Mrs Potts for dessert I have no idea. It was a good job that we had to queue for a 10-15 mins to get a seat though. It’s a very popular café in Bristol and serves so much chocolate-related items, like hot chocolate made from melted chocolate, brownies, cookies, cake… it’s incredible.

I went for a brownie hot chocolate and took away a slice of cake (with a pot of melted chocolate to drizzle over), a stuffed cookie and a white chocolate rocky road.

Kyle and I shared and the cake and cookie later that evening after I’d gotten home (and made space!). They were absolutely divine. The cookie was definitely the best out of the bunch but the cake with the chocolate over it was incredible too.

Caithness Paperweight

My grandad who lives in Stoke-On-Trent sent Kyle and I such a lovely present. He called it a “glass dump” which just doesn’t do justice to the beauty of the gift. I guess it’s a kind of paperweight, but it’s basically a unique hand-crafted glass ornament.

It’s such a gorgeous gift and will sit proudly in our house. I do worry about my grandad living alone in Stoke in this horrible time but I ring him regularly. He does so much volunteering which had to stop during the lockdowns so I worry he’s a bit out of sorts, but he seems in good spirits. He has such a positive and happy outlook to life.

So here’s to just as happy a December 🙂

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the Free Train and Adventusaur for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Running a marathon just for the hell of it

During these weird times I’m grasping at anything to keep my running feeling fresh and to keep it from feeling samey.

So when my friend, Emma, said that she was going to be running the Virtual New York Marathon at the end of October and mentioned I could join her if I fancied, I jumped at it. My running lately has been feeling so meh and flat. It’s not that I’ve lost motivation it’s just that I don’t know what I’m doing, if that makes sense? What mileage should I be running? What goal am I aiming for? I’m not training for anything. Portsmouth Coastal Marathon in December has been cancelled and I’m a bit bereft. (As I’m sure so many others are as well).

On Friday evening after work I drove up to Reading and stayed with Emma and her family ready to run the marathon the next day. She had a route more or less planned and we decided to head out at 8am the next day. That evening she had chicken and pasta and I had a delicious vegetarian pizza. I know it’s crazy but I really cannot stand pasta!

The next morning we got up early. I had some porridge and a black coffee (my standard) and we waited a bit to digest before getting ready to start.

I wasn’t feeling that nervous. Without sounding arrogant or blasé, Emma was aiming for around a four hour marathon with a pace of 9-10min/mile, which is quite relaxed for me.

My training up to this point hadn’t really been optimal for another marathon but I felt confident I would be OK. Of course, the distance is always hard regardless of the pace you run so I knew not to be too chilled about it.

The weather was due to be pretty grim as well. It wasn’t raining as we set off but we knew it would come at some point. As we started, while it was quite windy, it was mild which was nice and made me wonder if my long sleeve jacket was a mistake (spoiler: it wasn’t). We had a few loops around the immediate location of where Emma lived, round some country roads, and we kept it nice and relaxed chatting away. It’s always nice to see Emma and while we catch up most weeks via phone, it was nice to see her in person and have a long chatty run. It was also nice to run in a very country-esque location and pretty much carless roads.

It was really quite easy to keep my pace nice and relaxed – something I had been a little worried about. I didn’t want to speed up and push Emma without realising. But we kept to the goal pace.

As we headed into Reading at around mile 11, Emma said she needed a quick toilet break so we popped into Costa (we’d brought our masks just in case we needed to do this thankfully).

As we came back out the rain had started in earnest and having stopped running for a few minutes my legs were a bit stiff getting going again and I was a little chilly. Thankfully as we got going I got warm again.

We then started running alongside the Thames River and the rain properly started hammering down. The more stable pathing turned into more of a trail route and the rain and leaves on the ground made that a little precarious.

I had visions of slipping and falling into the river – thankfully this never happened! As we ran alongside the river we saw several people getting ready for what looked like a boat regatta with their bibs on.

While running through the wind and rain I was certainly more happy to be running through the rain than rowing through it on the water! It just looked so grim. We did get some grim smiles from the few supporters along the bank. Everyone just looked so thoroughly soaked – as we were too of course. But looking at this point we weren’t cold.

So we continued running alongside the water until we got to the end of the road, as it were, where a gate blocked our way. And so we turned around and headed back the way we’d come. This had always been the plan but I think Emma thought that the path might have gone on a little longer. At this point we were almost at 17 miles. My legs felt a little tired but otherwise I was OK. I did have a slight dip in motivation when I considered how much longer we still had to run and be wet in the rain. The rain was just so relentless it really was quite tedious.

As we headed back down the path we’d come down, the rain had created more and more puddles and we had to do some strategic running and jumping to get through. We continued running further down the Thames to get to around 20 miles and Emma started to struggle a bit with some pains in her hip.

I tried to keep her mind off it by talking about stupid things but it was a struggle as the weather was really killing our vibe. Emma stopped a few times and I started to get colder. I needed to keep running to stay warm, but equally I didn’t want to put pressure on Emma, especially if she was in pain. She kindly said I could run ahead for a bit.

As we got to 22 miles we stopped again and Emma was clearly struggling a fair amount – the rain, the wind, her painful hip and general fatigue – and we needed to find four more miles. We decided to keep running loops around the area we were in – up and down the Thames, round near to the shops a bit and back. It was a little tedious but every mile ticked off the end got closer.

In terms of how my legs felt, they were good. They were tired but no niggles and I didn’t feel that tired in myself. I wanted to stretch my legs out a bit but I knew increasing my pace wouldn’t help Emma finish any faster. I did run ahead a few times so I could sprint back to her to allow my legs to stretch a bit – as my cadence was slower than if I’d been running my usual pace. It helped keep me warm as well. I had to check with Emma a couple of times regarding how much she had left as obviously my watch wasn’t accurate due to my extra running ahead and back.

We got near to where her parents would be picking us up (I was now over 26.4 miles so stopped my watch), Emma was almost there and I ran ahead so I could cheer her in to the imaginary finish.

Then we were done. Soaked and tired but done!

Emma’s parents were incredible. The car was lovely and warm, they had towels for us and big hoodies for us to get into and it was just GLORIOUS. I was so cold by this point and utterly, utterly drenched through I was just glad to be out of the rain.

Emma’s watch time was 4:18:52. I’m not sure what her official time was (we did stop our watches when we stopped – I know there are several  opinions about this). But anyway, she was very happy with her time – as she should be.

I had the most gloriously hot (scalding really) shower and a cup of tea and felt a million times better. The marathon itself wasn’t hard per se as the pace was very comfortable for me. But running for longer than I’m used to did make it fairly tiring. I found at times that I wanted to run faster to stretch my legs and it was mentally tough trying to support someone who was struggling a little at the end. Like there’s nothing you can say to help them but just be there and push as much as you can. You wish you could run the miles for them and seeing Emma in a bit of pain at the end was hard. This makes it sound like I’m being smug and that it was easy. It wasn’t easy. It was just very different and hard in different ways.

Emma and I celebrated with a delicious lunch at a little garden centre café. I opted for the rather delicious (and different for me) lentil salad with another pot of tea. So tasty and warming.

And of course later we had a Doughnut Time doughnut to really celebrate 😉 They were the Halloween specials and very tasty. Then it was an Indian takeaway for dinner and a very early night!

I thoroughly enjoyed running the marathon with Emma. And just before Lockdown 2.0! Not sure what next is planned for my running though…

Have you ever run a marathon with a friend?

What’s your celebratory food of choice?