Things lately

Things are plodding along quite nicely round here. Though I’d hate to look back at my life and think of it as a “plod”. Rather that though than a sprint I suppose!

I guess you could call this an ‘odds and ends’ post of stuff that’s been happening lately:

  • Ben making carrot cake

This is big, big news people. For so long Ben has been promising to bake for me. But these promises have never materialised to actual calorific-dense baked goods (despite me buying him ingredients and everything). I’m the one who cooks, he’s the one that apparently bakes.

Last week he had the week off as he was starting a new job so he had no excuse. Being a typical man, he left it to mid-afternoon Friday to begin his task. I got regular text updates as to the progress of the cake…

Carrot cake process Apart from a minor zest grating related injury (and a lovely photo of it sent my way – in case I wasn’t fully aware of the sheer hard work he was putting in), it all seemed to be going swimmingly.

That is until I got a bit of an urgent phone call: “Anna, I forgot to add the carrot in before I put it in the oven. What do I do??”.

He even sent me a selfie to adequately express how he felt.


Luckily he was able to get the cakes (there were two) out of the oven asap and stir in the hastily grated carrot (no further grating related injuries here thank goodness). Whew. Rectified. But amusing nonetheless 😉

Ben's carrot cake Ta da! How good do they look? As the loaf tin was a little small for the batter, he made a mini round cake as well…with a better cake to icing ratio if you ask me 😉 It tasted divine and it was all I could do to not consume the entire two cakes in one sitting. And yes, there was carrot in it 😉

  • New mattress

Ben’s above selfie could also adequately describe the feelings we felt when our lovely new mattress was delivered the other day.

IMG_7181“Pants” would be one word to describe this situation. There are others I could use. Thankfully we can swap it (and pay the extra) for the correct mattress size. Not sure how we got this so wrong really…I don’t know how we both survive in this big wide world pretending to be adults.

  • Trips to London

Getting up at stupid o’clock to get the train to London for a meeting is no fun. Especially when it means eating my porridge in the car while my dad drives us to the station.


Lots of things in my life change and new habits form, but eating porridge for breakfast will never change.

And I’m sorry all you lovely Londoners but I detest going there. It’s stressful, busy, crowded…and dirty. Yes I realise most cities (and places in general) are dirty. But I freak out.

IMG_7042 Essential requirement for me!

And just randomly, a mini escalator. For all those lonely people who have no friends to stand with…

IMG_7044 Room for one only

Or people who are so so busy they need to use the mini escalator to hurry up them quickly, by-passing the more normal sized busier escalator (I found this out as I was dallying around taking photos of said escalator while a man tried to hurry past…).

  • Birthday trip to Chichester 

IMG_7190On Sunday Ben and me went out to Chichester to go shopping for a belated birthday trip. Rant alert: I got a little bit angry in one of my favourite shops (Oasis) when I realised they didn’t stock my size is anything I liked (bar one dress). It’s not an obscure size either – a normal size eight. The lady in the shop just shrugged and went “yeah I know” and after a long pause “look online”. Gargh!! I like trying stuff on and I’m there willing to buy stuff NOW. I understand that they can’t stock masses of every size but they had about three size 20s in everything. Your loss, Oasis, was FatFace and New Looks’ gain.

We stopped at one of my favourite restaurants for lunch as well: Trents.

Trents Chichester birthday meal

We had a sharing platter (hummus, sundried tomato dip, beetroot dip, stuffed peppers) to start, followed by a Caesar salad for me (of course) and a club sandwich and curly fries for Ben, followed by crème Brule for Ben and chocolate brownie for me.

I had run 10 miles in the morning and I was FAMISHED. Sadly my salad didn’t quite cut it. I enjoyed it but it wasn’t one of the best I’ve tried (no croutons and no anchovies). Ben was struggling so I helped him out with eating some of his sandwich filling (bacon and chicken) and his fries. Win.

26th birthday meal That pudding. Oh wow. It could have done with vanilla ice cream to balance it rather than hazelnut ice cream but it was pretty damn amazing. Afterwards I was like “pft, that was easy. Three courses done and dusted.” After leaving the restaurant for a shopping continuation the fullness hit me like a ton of bricks (literally in my stomach). I couldn’t bare to even look at people eating or drinking. I couldn’t eat anything else for the rest of the day and required an hour long nap when I got home. Whew. Pretty good day I’d say!

  • Alfie

Kids (and adults) all over the globe are obsessed with Frozen.

IMG_6619 Apparently so is our dog, Alfie. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what he does all day when we’re at work. He just wants to build a snowman…

Do you prefer online shopping or going into the actual shop? I like to try things on because invariably things that I think will look nice look awful. And it’s the whole faff of sending stuff back that really annoys me with online shopping. But it annoys me when a shop is seriously under-stocked in my size for pretty much everything.

Ever ordered a large purchase that turns out to be very wrong?

What’s your worst baking disaster? I could write a book for mine so it was nice that Ben, ‘Mr Baking Pro’ got something wrong 😉

Running and supporting

Happy Monday! And congratulations to all you amazing people who ran in the London marathon.

I definitely felt I was crawling by Friday. I was so tired. Normally when my alarm goes off I’m bang awake. But last week’s mornings were a big struggle. On Friday night Ben and me went out for an Indian with friends for a charity evening. But by 9.30pm I was shattered and we just had to go home. I was in bed fast asleep by 10pm.

Saturday morning Ben and me were up early to help setup our local Parkrun.

Netley Abbey Parkrun setup It was a lovely morning. Crisp, sunny and clear. I had no plans for the Parkrun. Just take it as I fancy. I was stood next to Ben and some other guys from the running club at the start and as soon as we started BOOM Ben was off. I was doing 6.30ish min a mile (not for long!) so I was happy to let him go.

Ben has come on in leaps and bounds with his running (his 10k PB is only a minute off mine currently – though I haven’t run one since June ;-)) I’m so pleased for him. He’s chipped away at his Parkrun time each week which is a clear indication that his speed is really improving.

Anyway, I was happy to sit nicely at 7.10min miles and didn’t feel like I was 100% blasting it, which made me feel really happy! I ran on Thursday evening as my first post-marathon run and though it was more tiring than usual, my speed was there surprisingly. I’m very pleased but I also know to take things easy and not go crazy while I’m still recovering.

In the end I finished Parkrun with a time of 21:40 and third woman, and Ben got 22:28. Not too shabby at all!

We helped clear away, had a quick cup of tea with the guys form the club and then dashed home for breakfast, showers and housework. At lunchtime we headed to my favourite restaurant…Jamie’s Italian to have a nice lunch with my parents.

Jamies Italian PortsmouthI’m not even going to post a photo of my main because I had what I always have (Turkey Milanese). If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But my starter was something new.

IMG_6459 Vegetable crudités on ice with a delicious lemon yogurt dip.

We had a nice quiet evening where we chilled out on the sofa watching Jerry McGuire (never seen it before – bit of a classic) and then an early night.

Sunday morning we got up early to get a run in before the TV coverage of the London marathon. I went for a solo 10 miles listening to my film review podcast. It was so lovely. I just ran how I felt and though it felt more tiring than usual everything felt good. The sun was shining and I was in the comfort of knowing that if I didn’t fancy 10 miles I could run 8 or 6 or whatever really. No training plan, no pressures, no stress. Just easy, enjoyable running.


In the coming weeks I’m aiming to improve my speed, keep my long runs under 13 miles and just tick over nicely.

I got back in time to quickly jump in the shower and then watch the London marathon.

London marathon supporting 2014 I had my crib sheet next to me of the elite runners: their PBs and accolades, and my two British flags. I was ready to go. The women’s race was more exciting than the men’s I must say. I was really rooting for Tirunesh Dibaba as it was her debut and I was devastated when she dropped her water bottle. A nice tense finish though for the Kiplagats at the end.

I think we all knew Mo Farah wouldn’t win the marathon but I did think he’d break the British record. Sadly I think he made some mistakes (not being in the front group at the start for example). BUT that being said, he did amazingly for his debut. The commentator really needed a slap for what he said (“stick to the track, Mo”). Who judges someone on one race? Jeeze give the guy a break. It was good to watch and I’m pleased for Wilson Kipsang – he just looked so comfortable the whole time.

We were also tracking a lot of different people, either from the club, friends, bloggers… everyone did fantastically. Well done! You guys made me so jealous 🙂

Anywho, the rest of the day we spent seeing my sister, brother-in-law and nieces, having a long walk with Alfie and then just relaxing. Perfect!

Did you run or watch the London marathon? I desperately want to run it now!

Did you make the most of the lovely weather (if it was lovely for you)?

If you know there’s a meal in a restaurant you love, do you stick to that or try something new? I’m so boring but at least I know I’m guaranteed a good meal.

A Day Pretending to be an Olympian

Hi guys, so in continuing with my last post on my weekend catch-up, here is Part 2. (See Part 1 HERE).

Sunday morning – race day at the Olympic Stadium! We stayed with friends in Clapham in London so it was fairly easy to get to Stratford via the tube in the morning. I say ‘fairly easy’ because Ben knew where to go and what tube to catch. I obediently followed, bewildered by all things public transport and London.

On the tube journey there was another race goer with her National Lottery race t-shirt and bib on. I decided to wear my running club vest instead because the t-shirt (despite being a small) was HUGE. It fit Ben perfectly though so he now has it in his running wardrobe. At each tube stop, more and more runners got on-board and there started to be a buzz of excitement.


Then we got to Stratford and a sea of blue people flowed out and we were whisked along with the crowds of people heading towards the stadium.

We walked past the huge shopping centre, Westfield…


It was just streaming with blue shirted and Lycra-ed people. It was fairly overcast but that was fine; nice and cool for running I hoped!

Olympic Park

Then finally, after security, we got within sight. I was so excited by this point and it really was quite a spectacular sight.

We got there around 8.30am which was perfect really as we got to mosey about before the race (which started at 10am). I stood in the queue for the first toilet I saw and waited for ages. Then afterwards we headed towards the area that Ben would spectate (it was all divided according to the colours of the bibs; I was a red wave). I noticed a million more toilets and realised my initial error of panicking and going to the first toilet I saw. In the end I literally went to the loo three times before the race as I was so nervous and there were so many loos.

I got goose bumps when we first walked in the stadium. It was amazing. It looked a lot smaller than it did on TV but it was very impressive.

Ben and Anna OS

We met up with a girl from our running club and her hubby (who also wasn’t running) and little daughter and chatted for a bit just waiting around. Then me and my friend headed to our start area. We were both in the red wave and this was the first wave to start.

Sir Chris Hoy (British Olympic gold medallist cyclist) opened the race and also introduced Victoria Pendleton (British Olympic gold medallist cyclist), Mel C (aka Sport Spice) and Paula Radcliffe (hero! Long distance legend) who were right at the front. Me and my friend were in the middle.


We did a crazy warm-up from some seriously enthusiastic guy and then we were off. Well, after a good minute as we shuffled towards the start.

Mile one was tough because there were so many people and the path was quite narrow at points. It was tricky to get ahead and was a bit of a nightmare trying to get past people.

Mile two the path became wider and we found our stride. I think a water station appeared around 2.5miles but I was OK so kept going. There was also a mist thing that you could run through to cool down. Though the weather wasn’t as hot as it has been, I was still quite hot so I ran through the mist. Lovely. I started to struggle though.

Mile three and it felt really hard. Psychologically it was tough because you could see the front runners doing a further part of the course. You knew what was to come. It also wasn’t a pancake flat course.

Mile four and I was really struggling. My friend was starting to get further away from me. We had both agreed that if one of us felt like stretching it out they should just go. Though it irked me that I couldn’t keep up. We’re around the same speed normally I think and it wounded my pride a little that I had no energy to catch her.

Mile five and I just wanted it to be over. I finally got into the stadium (albeit in a tunnel underneath the stands). They were playing out cheers and moments from the Olympics (from what I can gather) and it helped motivate me on. Then I got into the actual stadium onto the track and think I said out loud “thank God”. I had no oomph left for a sprint finish. I just wanted to get there.

National Lottery Garmin

I’m really happy with my time. It’s not a PB – it’s around a minute off. But I feel like it was a good effort considering I think I’ve lost a little bit of my speed since being injured (I know, I know: excuses, excuses!!) My only disappointment was not catching up with my friend. She finished 20 seconds ahead of me. Hey ho!

National Lottery Results

I was 66th girl so I’m really pleased with that considering there were around 7,000 females!

And the best part? I met Mel C! She finished just after me and in a really embarrassingly ‘OMG-I-love-celebrities-I’m-so-uncool’ kind of way I grabbed her for a photo. I’m mortified now looking back because when I asked her she was like “Can I just catch my breath first? I might throw up on you otherwise”. I die of shame. I like to think I’d be cool around celebrities. Wrong.


The 12 year old Spice Girl obsessed girl inside me is doing a dance

I even said afterwards “you have the same shorts as me!” *Shakes head in shame* Oh Anna, you’re so uncool.

I found Ben afterwards and we watched more runners finish and it was just brilliant. And there were so many did crazy sprint finishes!! As we headed out in search of the Mo Farah cardboard cut-out I spotted Maria from Running Cupcake with her partner. I felt a little bit like a stalker if I’m honest but I really wanted to say hi so I tapped her on the shoulder. (We had messaged each other beforehand to try and meet up at the stadium but we weren’t sure how it would work out considering it was such a big event).IMG_4784

It was lovely to have a quick chat with her – catch her recap of the race HERE. It’s always nice to actually hear someone’s voice after reading so much about them on their blog – does that sound weird? I quite like vlogs in that respect. Well, I can confirm she is as lovely as her blog is Smile

And then we saw the Mo Farah cut-out.

IMG_4786Then we headed home! We checked the train times and found a train leaving in 40 minutes, so we got our skates on and aimed for that one. It was a bit stressful and we hadn’t eaten but we wanted to just get home. Rest assure though I snacked well on the train home to keep me going until lunch.

The event was brilliant. I loved the atmosphere, the hype and seeing the stadium. I didn’t enjoy the running part so much. It felt like a struggle and the scenery was a bit rubbish (it was kind of a building site) but running in the stadium was epic. I did feel bad a lot though as I knew Ben wanted to run but he couldn’t because I forgot to get him a ticket when I applied for mine. I KNOW, worst wife ever. Though in fairness, he is still injured…

So over all, a brilliant weekend! Open-mouthed smile

Did you watch the Olympics when it was on? Have you been to the stadium before?

Who’s your favourite Olympian or athlete? Mo and Paula are high on my list!

Have you ever met a celebrity and/or been star struck?

Day Trip to London

Happy Monday everyone! I had a great weekend, though it flew by far too fast as always.

Saturday morning I got up stupidly early and did my usual long run. I didn’t even mind getting up early, it was such a crisp clear morning and I felt energised.


Then after getting ready and quickly eating some oatmeal, Ben dropped me off at the station and I headed off to London to see my lovely friends from university to celebrate one of their birthdays.


I was worried the weather would be rubbish but thankfully the rain stayed away and, though it was chilly, the sun was out and it was a clear day. I enjoyed the journey by just chilling out and reading my Kindle.

We were all meeting in Camden. London and I tend to struggle at times as I am so bad with navigating my way around and catching the tube. Luckily it was just one journey on the Northern Line from Waterloo. Whew.


Then I met up with the girlies in Nero coffee shop where we caught up. And then one of my friends announced she’s engaged!! This is so exciting, I’m so pleased for her Smile

Then after fuelling ourselves with caffeine we headed off into the crazy world of Camden.


I’ve only been to Camden once before so I was somewhat prepared. The shops are just full of crazy outfits and gothic paraphernalia… Really unique stuff. And there are lots of, erm, interesting looking individuals. One guy was walking around topless with just a kilt on.

We walked around Camden Lock Market, which was full of really strange and wonderful market stalls. Including a little café which sold liquid nitrogen ice cream!

Ice cream

We didn’t try any as it was quite expensive, but I was fully impressed!

And then went into the Stables Market. The Stables Market apparently used to be an old stables and it really felt that way.


Again there were loads of little individual market stall-type shops selling everything you could imagine. Antique trinkets, vintage suitcase, old comics, crazy hand-made outfits.

Horse Tunnel

And I managed to haggle two dresses! I had taken £30 out of the cash machine before getting the train so buying lunch would be easy. But walking through the market I found a dress shop which was just full of pretty dresses all £20. I couldn’t decide between two dresses so I asked the man if he accepted card and he didn’t and I said “well I only have £30” and he let me have them! He tried to get me to pay £35 by I literally only have £30. I felt like I got a good bargain.


OK they do look slightly similar but I couldn’t choose between them. Perfect for summer or with a cardigan and woolly tights or leggings for winter!

Then we started getting hungry so headed to a quaint little Italian restaurant aptly called Little Italy. We could see the chef making the pizzas and doing the crazy throwing-them-around thing which I desperately tried to get a photo of.


Sort of worked…

I ordered a roasted vegetable and goat’s cheese pizza with added chicken.


This was sublime. Absolutely delicious. The base was very thin and the toppings generous which is the perfect ratio I think! I hate overly doughy thick pizzas. Very authentic. They were all Italian in the restaurant as well which added to the experience.

Unfortunately though my friend Charlotte (who reads the blog, Hi Charlotte!) ordered a veggie version of a sausage calzone but it came choker full of sausage, but they were very apologetic and changed it straight away.

After finishing the entire pizza I was stuffed. And we all needed a good walk. So we headed to a park (Highgate Park) close to where the birthday girl lives for a nice bit of walking.


Check out how beautiful that park is! And the view of London in the background is fantastic.

Highgate park

So lovely, I couldn’t believe we were still in London.

The houses round there were HUGE.


They must cost an absolute fortune. Most of them weren’t broken into flats…

And then it was eventually time for home.


I could just see the Shard in the distance as I was sat on the train going home

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing my friends; it’s always so great to see them and catch up. It only seems like yesterday we all graduated from Cardiff University but it was like four years ago now! I wish I could see them more but we all live in different places in the UK now. But we try to see each other every few months.

Sunday I just chilled and did some boring housework, including cleaning the dreaded oven. But a great weekend regardless!

What did you get up to this weekend?

Do you have friends who live far away? I have friends from before and after uni who live nearby and friends from uni who live a fair distance away.

What’s your favourite place in London? I don’t think I really know! I like the tourist bits and the shops hehe.