Lee-On-Solent parkrun, Beefy’s and YOLO

How’s everyone this morning? If you’re from the UK, then hopefully you’re not still damp from our rather soggy Sunday! Feels all rather autumnal to me. Winter is coming…

Friday night I stayed over at my parent’s house. I wanted to try out the new Lee-On-Solent parkrun that had started a few weeks ago and it’s about three miles from my parent’s house. It runs alongside the beach on the promenade and is really flat. It’s actually part of my long run route when I stay at my parents.

I hadn’t run since Ultra12 last Sunday as I was concerned about my shin/calf (I say shin/calf as I’m actually not sure where the ‘issue’ is – it’s just a general discomfort and tightness of my calf that then aggravates closer to my shin, if that makes sense). In the week it was feeling grumpy and niggly and the last thing I wanted to do was annoy it further. I ran 20 miles over 12 hours (and a parkrun a few hours earlier) so I’d definitely pushed it out of its comfort zone and I needed to give it time. Check me out being all sensible.

My plan then on Saturday was to drive down to the beach car park about a mile away from the start and run down. This meant that I could judge my leg before I got caught up in any parkrun buzz and adrenaline and could walk back to my car if it felt rubbish. At Netley my warm-ups tend to be very quick and I knew if I went I wouldn’t bail on the run as there were so many people I know there and I’d have been embarrassed to have dropped out last minute (stupid, I know).


Annnnyway, I did some dynamic stretches and then began running down. Everything felt fine. I literally had the biggest smile on my face running to parkrun. Thank god.

IMG_2483 Beautiful blue skies and the parkrun start ahead

I got to the start in more than enough time and chatted with a fellow Hedge End Running Club member. It was nice to see a friendly face, though to be honest everyone was very friendly and lovely. But then all parkruns are welcoming! 🙂

This parkrun is very flat and with few turns (it’s an out and back twice…you run along one way, then turn to go back, then run past the start/finish area, turn and run back) so it’s ideal for those wanting a PB, if the wind isn’t too bad. Because of my recent niggle I wasn’t looking to go crazy. I just wanted a quickish run to get the legs turning.

As I started I felt good and my legs felt nice and fresh. I was listening to music but not my usual “GO GO GO” music on my Running Playlist that encourages me to go faster. Instead I just put on music that was in the charts that I was liking lately as I didn’t want to get lost in the moment and push myself too hard. Basically I was looking to enjoy myself 🙂

IMG_2579 Photo credit: AmandaLou Hall and Ethan Gee

The first mile was great. Despite not setting out with the ambition to smash the pace I felt very comfortable at sub-7min/miles. I just went with it. I noticed there weren’t any other females around me and felt quite content.

At the turnaround I checked to see if there were any ladies in front of me (I say I wasn’t racing, but it’s always nice to know your placing!). There was a young girl storming ahead and that was all. As I turned to go the other way the full force of the wind smacked me in the face. Ah so that’s why my first mile was so lovely. I was being pushed along nicely! The second mile was therefore a lot harder and a bit of a grind. My pace dropped but I didn’t mind (a completely different story to last week’s parkrun – what a difference a change in mindset makes).

At the next turn around point, where we would then head back to the finish, I passed the girl. She was really struggling. Again the wind was now behind me and it was suddenly easier again. I sailed nicely to the finish.


I finished in 21:37 as first female and I was chuffed. A hard but enjoyable run.


Sadly I’m an absolutely idiot (this might not be that much of a surprise). I sat down and caught my breath. I went over to the young girl who finished second I think and said well done. I chatted to a few people. Then headed over to the barcode scanner. Oh wait, where’s my finisher’s token?

Cue panic.

Arghhh, I’d put it down somewhere! Despite spending a good amount of time searching the area with the help of a few kind people, I couldn’t find it. It was very windy so I was worried it’d blown away. I spoke to the marshal in charge who took my name, my Garmin time and my barcode number and promised to sort it. I felt terrible though as I know they’ve had a few problems lately with tokens going missing. Long story short, after a few emails they managed to get me on the results on Sunday. I was mortified to have caused such a faff and felt suitably guilty. I donated £5 because I felt so bad. It costs them £70 to buy 100 new tokens (they can’t buy them individually).

I ran back to my car as a cool down, which was also a great way to check how my niggle felt post-run. Things felt fine! Hurrah. I still think I need to be careful and I’m now including calf raises into my strength training because clearly this is a weakness I have that keeps cropping up. I regularly change my trainers so I really can’t think what else I can do (apart from not go crazy with jumping up my mileage).

Later in the day I went shopping with my mum and decided to do something I’d been considering for a while. I’ve always liked the thought of having a tattoo but can never really make my mind up on what or where I’d have it. I also know I’d probably regret it later. And I’d just look stupid. Years ago I used to have my belly button pierced but I let it heal over. My belly button, I think, is really quite ugly so I thought what better way of improving things and doing something a little bit (for me) crazy.

IMG_2525 You can see where the plaster had been on my tummy

It didn’t hurt as it was numbed beforehand and it was very quick. I’m very pleased. You only live once!

I also splashed out on a new outfit that I could then wear to the meal my parents and me were going to that evening. I bought this beautiful long skirt from Monsoon, and then paired it with a very simple strappy top, a white cardigan and a necklace in the sale all from New Look.


How pretty is that pattern and those colours? The skirt is of really good quality – there is a lot of material there and it fits beautifully.

The restaurant we went to was called Beefy’s in Southampton. It’s located in the Hilton hotel at the cricket grounds, The Ageas Bowl. It’s rather posh and very lovely.Beefys

The service was impeccable. They were so attentive, pleasant and friendly. And the food was gorgeous. Yes it is expensive (relatively so – mains are around £12-15 but can go up depending on what you choose, obviously. My dad had a steak for £30!).

Beefys - The Ageas BowlYou choose a type of bread to start (I went for olive bread) and then I had a sharing platter with my dad of hummus, feta, olives, bread, roasted vegetables and local watercress. For main I had a char-grilled sweet chilli chicken salad. My dad and me joked that we’d both expanded our culinary choices by me choosing that salad and not the Caesar salad and him having a Porterhouse steak rather than a rump steak. Small steps. For pudding I had sticky toffee pudding with ice cream. It all tasted amazing. Definitely worth a visit!

And then the weather turned and I woke up to stupid amounts of rain the next morning. Originally I’d planned to go for a long run with some guys from the club but I didn’t know if I was going to stay at my parent’s again or not (I did) and I was still being cautious about my niggle. The last thing I wanted to do was go for a long run and ignore any discomfort. I wanted the option of just cutting things short without feeling the need to explain things to people (I know everyone would have been lovely about it but I would feel awkward). So I went solo.

It was absolutely tipping it down and I only had shorts and a sleeveless top. It wasn’t cold per se but it was miserable out there. My run felt fine. There was an awareness of my niggle at the start but nothing to hinder me or make me feel I was “pushing through” discomfort or pain. Then for the rest of the run it felt fine. I actually felt really good and fresh (despite being soaked to my skin).


I did get yelled at by a driver though. I was running along a relatively short road where there were no pavements and he pulled up next to me and yelled that it was a stupid place to run. There was more than enough room for the both of us (and cars the other way) and I had made sure I was in full view of any oncoming cars. *Sighs*

Rainy run

The run felt good but I still don’t know where my head is at for the Cheddar Gorge marathon in a few weeks time. I’m 90% certain I’ll do it. The only thing that will halt me will be if that weekend is really rainy (because it will just be a mud bath and I want to enjoy it) or if my niggle becomes anything bigger.

Decisions, decisions.

And I’ll leave you with the joys of running in the rain with long hair.

IMG_2587 I’m sure it’s so much easier being a man…

How was your weekend?

Have you got any piercings?

Have you done anything stupid at a race before? My life is full of stupid moments…

Draw a line under it and move on

Hey, hey, hey! How’s things going?

It’s funny, I feel so much more rested when I get up pre-6am than when I do post-7am. How weird is that? Even when I don’t set an alarm my body naturally wakes up around 5am and so I try to fall back asleep and then wake up feeling so groggy. Don’t get my wrong, I don’t leap out of bed with a smile on my face when the alarm goes at *whispers* 5.15am but once I’m up I feel pretty good.

After my run on Sunday I felt my lower back was slightly tight and my outer knee (IT band territory) was feeling slightly niggly. I started to panic: oh my God I’m broken again!!

I saw my physio on Tuesday morning and explained everything to him. I also mentioned about my hard leg workout the day before. He said I’d been a bit stupid. My legs were probably exhausted from the tough workout which had then put more pressure on my back and IT band when I ran… whoops. But he did his thang and said things felt less tight than before and my right leg was a lot stronger again now. He said I wasn’t to worry and that things were heading in the right direction and I could continue to run.


I still need to leave a day between runs and I’m not running over 4 miles. Progress though! So my next run is Thursday 😀 and I can do Parkrun Saturday. Finally!

On to matters of food… I’ve been back in the salad groove as of late (maybe to offset my current cake overload…dear lord, it’s gotten out of control this week!)

Salmon salad Rubbish photo I know

This beast of salad contained pretty much all my favourite foods (except cake…). Tinned salmon, broad beans, two kinds of lettuce, broccoli, roasted butternut squash, beetroot, onion, garlic roasted courgette…oh my life this was so good. I love beastie salads because they take so long to eat and you can really enjoy them. And tinned salmon in my books is so much more superior to fresh or smoke salmon – am I alone in that opinion??

We also tried hummus baked chicken.


I basically just topped chicken breasts with roasted pepper hummus and then baked it in tin foil. It was easier to serve it in the foil as it was a bit messy. Quite a rustic look I like to think… Served with roasted veggies. Ben loved this.

So…let’s talk about the amount of cake I’ve eaten recently. Tuesday, as well as my physio, was also ‘bring a cake to work day’. Well, can you get a better day than that at work?? My lovely work friend was concerned I wouldn’t get any cake because I was in a bit later due to my physio appointment. So she got me a ‘mixed grill’ style selection platter…

IMG_5832OK, so what have we got there? Giant slice of Victoria sponge, underneath that a rather generous slice of baked cheese cake, some rocky road and a Mars bar crispie cake. At first I was flabbergasted by how much she’d gotten me.


Yeah… well it took me two sessions during the day to finish the plate off but it happened. I don’t even want to think how much sugar or how many calories I consumed. And then…later on…I had another cheeky slice of Victoria sponge.

I don’t often feel guilty about the treats I have, but I really felt quite bad for what I’ve eaten. I mean let’s be honest, it was a lot. I also woke up this morning feeling quite bloated and not great. Spin was a joy I can tell you. Ha!

But I drew a line under it and today and for the rest of the week it’s all about sensible choices and healthy nutritious meals. I don’t eat rubbish and cake every day and I exercise regularly. I eat healthy meals and I only have a crazy blow-out once in a while. I’m not going to starve myself or ramp up my workouts. Life is not about punishing yourself.

Then Saturday it’s afternoon tea…shhh.

What do you do when you’ve had a bit of a ‘bad food’ blow-out?

What foods are your naughty go-to foods?

What would be on your ‘mixed grill’ selection platter of cakes?

Summer BBQ – WIAW

For this What I ate Wednesday, I thought I’d share the BBQ we had at the weekend. As I said in the last post, we turned up at my parent’s house and found they were thinking about having a BBQ…so we sort of just invited ourselves! I’m sure they didn’t mind really… Winking smile

Thanks, Jenn, for hosting as always Open-mouthed smile

I found my parents had bought some pink lemonade so I started myself nicely on that while relaxing in the beautiful sunshine in my parent’s garden.


The men folk did what men folk do best…play with the BBQ, drink beer and set fire to stuff. Supposedly cooking Winking smile


The women folk did what we do best…sit and relax!


I found a BBQ cookbook at my parents and also borrowed their mini iPad, score!

In the morning I ran 10 miles so I was definitely ready for a lot of food! And happily, my parents seemed to have bought enough food to feed an army…or at least a very hungry Anna Open-mouthed smile

BBQ July

I thoroughly enjoyed several glasses of pink lemonade and snacked on lots of carrots and cucumbers dipped in the amazingness that is avocado and hummus dip (seriously this is amazing) while the meat was cooking.


Whoops, caught red handed!!

For the meat I had a very large kangaroo burger. FYI: kangaroo is amazing. It’s like beef but slightly gamey. Really flavoursome. Ben kept reminding me I was eating ‘skippy’ though. My dad thought it was funny that I didn’t want a bun with it. To which I replied: why waste valuable stomach space on boring bread?? I had a lot to get through and I did not want to be hindered Winking smile

Next up were chicken tikka skewers which their local butchers make. Heavenly. I’m not going to lie. I ate three.

Then came the piece de resistance. BBQ ribs. Unfortunately I didn’t grab a photo. I was too eager to scoff them down and by the time I realised, my hands and face were a state. Two big chunky ribs. And my mum even had two as well – I never knew she liked them!

I was stuffed. But then came pudding.


I had a few scoops of rocky road ice cream and also millionaire shortbread ice cream (thank you M&S). It pretty much was as good as it sounds. I added fresh strawberries as well.

I then had to be crane lifted home. I was so full. I personally blame it on the pink lemonade Winking smile


Sam, Dylan and Lexi (my parent’s dogs)

I’m sure the dogs enjoyed the BBQ too…but they don’t looked amused do they?


I think Alfie really just wanted that avocado dip. I don’t blame him.

I have to share this photo. My mum, bless her, is not the world’s greatest cook (but is the world’s greatest mum). She was in charge of only one food-related thing.


Boiling the eggs for the salad. In the largest saucepan known to man. That’s global warming for you right there.


Anyway it was a lovely very chilled afternoon. And I’m not ashamed to admit that Ben and me got home and had a little nap. I don’t even like naps usually!

What kind of BBQ food do you like best? I’m all over chicken, ribs and fish. And vegetable skewers. And kangaroo now.

Favourite ice cream flavour? Usually I’m all about Ben and Jerry’s but Marks and Spencer’s was pretty darn tasty.

What’s your favourite dip? I didn’t even know they did avocado and hummus dip. It was so creamy and tasty. I also enjoyed a blue stilton dip which was very strong.

Oxford day-trip

Happy weekend all! Hope you’re all having a nice chilled weekend Smile

So far this weekend has been brilliant. Yesterday I caught the train to Oxford to meet up with my friends from university. Usually we go to London or Reading as it’s a nice half-way point for us all as we’re all scattered over the country, but we decided to meet up in Oxford this time for a change. I’m so relieved we didn’t decide to go to Reading because that’s where I’ve been working for the past three weeks and if I’m quite honest I’m sick of it.

I think I’ve been to Oxford once before when I was looking around at universities (in the end the whole interview process and academic snobbery put me off – no offence to anyone who went there but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Plus I’m not sure I would have gotten in! It’s a whole different league of smartness).

Anyway, so I got the train (oh how I loathe trains) and met up with my four lovely girlfriends. Obviously the first thing we did was go to Starbucks for a coffee. Well of course, right?


Americano with a splash of hazelnut syrup thank you very much.

And we nattered on for a good hour I’d say. You know what girls are like…

Then we moseyed about for a while looking around the shops. We went into the Covered Market where there were all these little boutquey-style shops.

And we found a cake making shop where I bought some decorations for our Christmas cake (which is still to be made…).


Check out this amazing cake that was in the window:


Wow, right??

After the market, we meandered around the streets and admired all the colleges and old buildings, which were just beautiful.

Oxford collage 2

It was such a perfect day to wander around. It thankfully didn’t rain! We decided to look around the Deer Park. But when we arrived at the entrance the man told us it would cost us a £5 each. I mean seriously?? To walk around a park! We obviously looked a bit devastated so he said we could have a quick look. So we had a quick look and then moved to leave. The man then said “Oh alright, you don’t have to pay, just go in”. How nice is that? Thank you Mr Deer Park Man!


So we had a lovely walk in the park and saw some deer (albeit from a distance).


And then we started to get hungry and went to find some lunch. One of my friends suggested a pub, The White Horse, that she’d been to before which was 50% vegetarian. I’m not a vegetarian but one of my friends is and none of us are really your steak and kidney pie kinda girls so it made sense.


It was quite small and busy but it was just nice to be in the warm as the day was starting to get very nippy. I decided to go for the hummus and olive salad.


Very yummy. Can’t go wrong with hummus in my books! After we’d finished eating and we’re digesting we noticed the pub suddenly became even more packed. Ah ha, the rugby was starting. So we scampered quickly.

So we looked round more of Oxford.

Oxford collage

It was just lovely. It felt like Harry Potter (yes, go ahead and laugh at me) with all the cloisters and old buildings. I took so many photos! (Hence my collage explosion in this post, apologies).

Oxford collage 3

And finally we visited the Oxford Castle, which is basically just a mound of earth now. The Oxford Castle is also the site of the old prison as well so we had a bit of fun with the props at hand…


And then after another coffee we parted ways. It was such a lovely day-trip. I love our meet-ups. We just slot back into place like we’ve never left uni. I wish I could see them more often but it’s so tricky with us living so far apart. But it was a great day regardless!

Then Ben picked me up from the station and he dashed off for the evening to see his friend. So obviously I watched Pretty Woman on my own with a couple of my other friends.


Perfect day!

What have you been getting up?

Have you been to Oxford before?

Holiday best eats

Happy Wednesday! Are we there already? I don’t know why but I feel in quite a happy place.

I like being back in my routine as well. Sad I know but that’s me I guess!

So for this WIAW I thought I’d do a What I ate Wednesday on our holiday that I really enjoyed (and mourn over not being able to have any more). [Check out Jenn’s blog for more info on WIAW!]

Breakfast: Though I love my porridge, IHOP breakfasts in Colorado were amazing. We went there every day for breakfast. The staff were so friendly and lovely. After the first day of us saying we were on our honeymoon they remembered us and asked each day what we were up to and divulged some inside tips.

Most mornings I’d have whole-wheat toast, scrambled egg, turkey bacon and fruit. Obviously with the amazingness that is sugar-free syrup.


But then on a day when I knew we wouldn’t be having lunch until a lot later, I went for something a bit more extravagant.

4.10 Breakfast Anna

Waffles with blueberries!! Oh these were so good. I want a waffle-maker now. I don’t care that we don’t have the space in our teeny tiny kitchen. I want one.

So breakfast was pretty damn tasty. And refills on coffee. Heaven. Now, I think it’s only right that I share what Ben ate as well…purely for comparison purposes…

Ben Breakfast Colorado

Yep, both those plates are his. He loved it. Apparently the crêpes were his pudding.

For lunch one day we went to a great Mediterranean restaurant (also in Colorado) called Café Caspian. Normally once a day we’d have a big meal where we’d have a starter and a main and usually that was dinner, but when we checked the menu out we knew we just had to have the sharing meze platter to start.

2.10 Dinner starter

[Sorry for the bad photo. The lighting wasn’t the best!]

Honestly, this was epic. Hummus, sundried tomatoes, vine leaves stuffed with some crazily yummy rice concoction, olives, falafels… The only problem was that it was huge and I still had a main course to go. So we had to be selective and couldn’t possibly eat it all. So good though.

Then for main I’d gone for a salad (which after that beast of a starter I was quite relieved).

2.10 Dinner Anna main

But still it was a monster! Avocado, chicken, feta, almonds, olives…all my protein in one meal basically. Honestly, I wish I could eat this every day.

Dinner: But the absolute best place we ate was in Orlando – so good we went there twice. Seasons 52.


When they seated us they asked us where we were from because of our accents and if it was a special occasion. We said it was our honeymoon. Then the waiter brought us champagne!!

27.09 drinks

So lovely (notice how quickly Ben’s disappeared haha). And the menu was fantastic. I literally could have had anything off of it. The specials change every week due to the changing seasons (hence the name), which is brilliant! For starter I had a chicken skewer with apple slaw:

27.09 dinner Anna starter

It was huge though – honestly, is that a starter?? I was full when I’d finished that (too good to leave any).

For main I’d chosen a vegetarian selection platter:

27.09 dinner Anna main

How amazing does that look? There were roasted sprouts, a stuffed pepper, marinated tofu, roasted butternut squash, a wholemeal tortilla with black beans and guacamole…etc. Presentation alone ranks this high up on my list of amazing dinners. I almost (almost) regretted having a starter. I tried to eat as much of everything as I could but I’m sad to say I couldn’t eat it all – honestly, I’d give a prize to anyone who could eat both that starter and the main with no issues!

And how can you say no to pudding when the waiter brings out a selection tray to show you, despite saying “Oh no I’m waaay too full”??

27.09 dinner Anna dessert 2

And they’re only ever so tiny… This delectable delight was pumpkin pie with a ginger snap crust. Perfectly in season, wouldn’t you agree?

Needless to say I was STUFFED. Alongside my meal I’d decided to treat myself to a cocktail (because I had all that spare space to fill, you know). I went for a Superfruit Martini (Veev Açai Spirit, Pom pomegranate-blueberry juice with organic agave nectar). Seriously, that sounds like an Anna drink.

27.09 cocktail

The waiter even left the cocktail shaker for me to top it up with the ‘left-overs’. I was so excited. I took a sip and almost died. I have literally never tasted anything worse in my life. It was like nail polish remover. I tried to get Ben to drink it but even he wouldn’t have it. I started to panic. The waiter had made such a song and dance about it and I had acted so excited. I just couldn’t drink it though. I thought about pouring it inconspicuously into my water but Ben forbade me (yep, forbade). So after panicking and faffing I thought I’d just tell the waiter it wasn’t my thing and apologise (I know this sounds ridiculous but the waiter had just been so lovely the whole night and was so pleased with my selection). Anyway while I was faffing, the waiter popped over quickly and said “How’s the cocktail?” and I just automatically said “Oh yes it’s lovely, thank you.” Ben just stared at me as if I’d gone mad. “Well there goes your plan”. Damn.

Well in the end I decided just to leave it and SAY NOTHING. I’m such a numpty! Looking back it’s funny now how much I panicked. The waiter probably wouldn’t have cared. But I didn’t want to look like an idiot and also have the risk of him saying he’d take it off the bill and get in trouble or something. It was my foolish mistake for choosing a martini. It’s not like it was going to taste like a smoothie, duh Anna.

So as you can see, the honeymoon was filled with massive amounts of food so many yummy foods. It’s definitely given me some inspiration to make some crazy recipes. Also made me realise I have irrational urge to eat waffles. All. The. Time. That’s normal right?

Fitness-wise…it’s been tough, I’m not gonna lie. 5.30am is not an Anna-friendly time to get up and run after being on a break for two weeks – though I haven’t slacked. But I have some plans on jazzing things up a bit so stay-tuned for a post coming up where I go into a bit more detail (including my up and coming half-marathon training plan).

Hope you enjoyed my holiday eats – I sure did! Smile