Working on my winter insulation layer ;-)

I am so chuffed. My flat is coming along so nicely!

My little home is very small, but it’s perfect for me. I thought that going from a house to a flat (apartment) would be really hard but actually it’s great. My previous house was a two bedroom end terrace so it was quite small anyway but just for me I didn’t need all that space. My new place is only one bedroom but it has enough space for all my things and storage room (which was always the worry for me if I went for somewhere smaller). I could have gone for a two bedroom but for my budget it probably wouldn’t have been in as good an area or would have been too far from my usual commute.

Anyway I had Friday off and got some bits and pieces sorted like getting my Internet hooked up and the delivery of my table and chairs. FINALLY I can eat at the table again after so long perching on my bean bag or my bed.

Friday evening was my friend’s Christmas party. It was planned for the week after but after a change of venue it was moved forward a week. Annoyingly this was the same evening as my running club’s awards evening and Christmas party 🙁IMG_6596But I had good fun with my friends anyway at a new Chinese restaurant. I’m not a huge Chinese fan but the food was good.Chinese food

There was a sharing platter to start, this had chicken skewers, spring rolls, dumplings and salted squid. Normally sharing food gives me anxieties 😉 but there was an equal number of different items per person so this was fine. It’s when it’s like a free-for-all that I get worried. Fear of missing out on food!

IMG_6592

Good friends

For main I had chicken teriyaki and rice, which was tasty but quite sweet. I was glad I didn’t have the duck as I tried some of my friend’s and it was ridiculously sweet. I like sweet stuff but this was a bit too much (for savoury anyway…). For pudding there was another sharing platter of brownies, doughnuts and ice cream things.IMG_6603

Tom, you’re famous! 😉

The next morning my alarm went off at 7am and for the first time in a long while I considered snoozing it. I rarely ever snooze alarms as once they go off I’m awake and that’s it. But I wanted to snuggle back down and sleep. I checked the weather and it didn’t look too bad at 11-12 degrees (centigrade). When I got to parkrun though it was tipping it down and I was glad for my wellies.Hunter welliesI was happy to take the rain over gale force winds though! A few people were feeling rather delicate due to the awards the night before. Luckily I hadn’t been drinking at my do, but I was still tired.

My friend Chris tried to persuade me to run with him, but he was aiming for 22 minutes and I’m no where near that yet! I did give it my best though and was happy with 23:14!

parkrun splits

It’s annoying because I can’t remember what my best time for this course is (as on the parkrun results it just says Netley Abbey – and there are like four different courses we can do through the year) so I’m not sure how well I can realistically aim to do as the weeks continue. The six hills really do drain you dry whereas the normal course only has three smaller hills.Parkrun mud

Anyway, it was fairly muddy but thankfully the rain had stopped when we were running. The temperature wasn’t too cold either (thanks, global warming!).

The rest of the day was deja vu to last weekend where I went to IKEA again with my parents and then spent the rest of the afternoon constructing bits and pieces. I’m DONE with IKEA now. No more!! I have pretty much everything I need now (apart from my new bed being delivered this week).

I was really chuffed to find a sofa I liked and when I ordered it they told me it could be delivered later that day. Unfortunately I failed to realise it would be delivered in four pieces. When the delivery men turned up I asked them if they were going to construct it and they almost laughed in my face. Of course not. It’s IKEA after all. Anyway, it’s all sorted thanks to my dad and me who are now like IKEA pros.

Sunday I had a lovely 6.5 mile run which went far better than last weekend’s. It still felt hard but I didn’t feel like walking so there’s an improvement (though it wasn’t as windy). My endurance is s.l.o.w.l.y improving.

6.5 miles

I’m starting to think I should be adding in some speed work but I think I’ll leave it with a tough parkrun each week for now. When I move to four runs a week then one of those might be a fartlek or intervals…*shudders*.

Sunday lunch was amazing. Literally amazing. I’ve found my new favourite restaurant. Coast To Coast in Whiteley. Dear God it was good. The menu was insane. I was torn between four different choices (burger with pulled pork, calzone, ribs or chicken wings). In the end I went for wings but instantly got food envy when I saw a woman get a HUGE rack of ribs.Coast To Coast

My dad and me shared the BBQ platter to start (ribs, wings, chicken tenders with blue cheese, battered prawns and chorizo). It was so good. I traded him some prawns for chicken and chorizo for ribs so I think we were both satisfied 😉

My Kentucky wings and sweet potato fries for my main were awesome. I’ve never actually had wings as a main before and it rocked my world. It had some great dips as well – one of them was like a blue cheese thing which I could have swum in if I’m honest.

I’d already seen the pudding menu and had earmarked the mint chocolate chip Oreo sundae but I was stuffed. It wasn’t even a “oooh I could make room” kind of stuffed, it was a meat sweat kind of stuffed. Just too much protein. I needed a nap 😉

Pretty damn awesome. Needless to say dinner wasn’t necessary!

How was your weekend?

Do you snooze your alarm or get up straight away?

What’s your favourite dip?

Rants and Raves #25

I’m so tired this week. The weekend really took it out of me. Fortunately I have a day off tomorrow, wheeee! So I can do more sorting and organising (*cough* and spending). Alfie’s back from my parent’s now as well. He does not like the balcony at all bless him! On to some rants and raves…

Rave: It’s so close to Christmas. I’m such a big fan of Christmas. I love the music, the food (ALL ABOUT THE FOOD), the festivities, the sparkle… Everything. I was wearing my ‘gateway’ Christmas jumper at the start of December.Christmas jumper

Old house selfie

See, it’s not quite a Christmas jumper but it’s fairly festive. I think I can get away with wearing it in January as well. I do have a proper one that I’ll be rocking out soon.

Rant: I hate myself (real hatred) for saying this but… Justin Bieber’s music is growing on me. WHAT’S GOING ON. I still detest the singer as I think he’s very arrogant and just not my type of person (as if we’d be friends otherwise;)) but his latest music is so bloody catchy.

Rave: I don’t tend to spend lots of money… But when it comes to workout gear, I can’t seem to stop. I found these gorgeous pair of Lululemon capris on eBay the other week.

Lululemon capris

Lululemon gear is just gorgeous but ridiculously priced. RIDICULOUSLY priced. Even worse than Sweaty Betty. I often have a little look on eBay to see if I can find anything and I was chuffed to score these for a discounted price. They are so soft, fit like a glove and just make me wish I was millionaire so I could buy everything from that shop.

I also bought some (more) leggings from Fabletics in their Black Friday deal. Two pairs of leggings for the price of one, I couldn’t resist.Fabletics leggings

I’d had these mesh capris in my ‘Wish’ bag already so I was happy to get them and another pair (more funky coloured) for the same price. I was concerned the mesh would be annoying but I barely notice it.

Rants: Buying loads of new gym and running gear wasn’t a great idea just before I moved as it only meant packing more stuff. In the end clothes that were in drawers ended up in bin bags… which then ended up like this when I needed to find certain items.

IMG_6483

Yes that is a random tool kit

My running and gym gear has lovingly been put away now in my newly created chest of drawers. Though I still have a bin bag left of normal clothes I’ve yet to get to. Priorities.

Rave: I’m really into snacking on biltong and dried meat at the moment. Such a good snack to tide you over until your next proper meal.

IMG_6320

Like meat crisps in a way 😉 Sorry veggies, I know that must sound awful to you.

These high protein crisp snack things though didn’t blow me away… bit bland. I’ll stick to my Snack a Jacks I think.IMG_6308

Rant: Websites that don’t accept hyphens in names. CaptureSo many don’t accept ‘Anna Smith-James’. IT’S MY NAME. My name isn’t Anna SmithJames. Or Anna Smith. Or Anna James. It’s Anna SMITH-JAMES. And on that subject, it’s JAMES not JONES. EVERY FRIGGING PHONE CALL. *Sighs*

On the subject of my name. Before I got married I was Anna James, but then I took Ben’s second name (Smith) and made two boring names into an interesting one. Now my intention is to find my next husband and just keep adding to my name, like Anna Smith-James-Taylor, and so on.

Obviously I’m joking. But I’m not changing my name. Who knows what the future holds but for now my name is remaining the same. The process of changing it is far too stressful… so many people, companies, websites to inform.

Rave: I found out what noise was keeping me awake. It was a scent thing that had been left in the flat. It clicks and ejects a puff of scent out every so often. I thought the noise was due to the wind on the window or something like that but then I was right next to it and heard the bastard. It has since left my flat. Though I do also now have ear plugs 😉

What are you rants and raves this week?

Are you a light or heavy sleeper?

Did you get anything on Black Friday?

I’ve moved house!

What a weekend. I’m shattered. It’s been a blur! I’ve finally moved in to my new little home. Moved in but not entirely sorted. Oh the boxes and the disorganised chaos…

So Thursday I had the day off of work and really started packing in earnest. I’d done a lot of packing and sorting beforehand but now it was literally ensuring everything was packed. I won’t lie, I hugely underestimated this process. I don’t have a huge amount of stuff as it’s just me (and Alfie) and I wasn’t taking any real furniture with me, but that still leaves a lot of stuff that I’d left because I was still using. This included clothes, toiletries, shoes, handbags, kitchen stuff, food… and then cleaning the bathrooms, dusting, hoovering and cleaning cupboards.IMG_6441

Where’s Alfie?

I felt very overwhelmed and under a lot of pressure to get it done as the next day I had to be out of the house by 12. I rung my mum (who’s currently off of work for 8 weeks after having a back operation) and had a mini-meltdown. She felt guilty for not being able to help – which was ridiculous as she’s in a lot of discomfort at the moment and can’t drive or really do much and that’s hardly her fault so the last thing I wanted was for her to feel bad. But I just need to vent and stress before getting back to it.

I caved in the end and text my friend, Louise, asking her if she could spare some time the next day to help me. She’d offered her services a few weeks ago and I’d told her I’d be fine. Just a few boxes, easy peasy. Ha! How I’d completely underestimated things! Lou was awesome and said she could come in the morning and help. What a legend! She’s also far more practical and sensible in these sorts of areas. I’m from a different, less organised school of thought…

Friday morning I had to pick up a van at 8.30am and then get back home to start moving stuff out of the house. The hardest thing was the mattress, which Lou and I struggled to get into the van. And then found it took up a huge amount of space in the van. At this point the estate agent’s from where I was buying from had rung and said I could not pick up the keys for the flat. I thought it’d be a good idea to go to the estate agent’s in the van, pick up the keys and then take the mattress to the flat and sort that first.

Good plan in theory… we arrived at the estate agents around 11. I ran in and said I was there to pick up the keys only to have the woman stare at me like I was crazy. She said that that was a printing shop and that the estate agents had moved. So I had to ring them and find out where the hell they were: central Southampton (about 20 mins away)!! I would have had a mental breakdown had Louise not calmed me down. In the end we decided to pack as much as we could in the van (playing Tetris with the mattress and boxes and then I would carry on packing and Lou would go and pick the keys up for me.

We finished packing at 12.15. What an absolute grind!
IMG_6455I got to the flat and met Lou there with the keys and we unloaded a few things before she had to go. It was around 1pm and I needed to get the van back by 4.30pm (so leave at 4pm). My dad was supposed to be coming to help but he was stuck in a meeting at work. I tried to get on and get stuff unpacked but it was taking forever getting items out of the van and then up the two flights of stairs. It was slow and hard progress. I decided to call in another friend to see if he could spare even just 20 minutes.

I was so grateful when he, Mike, said he could spare an hour! When he got there we got a great system of him unloaded the van and putting stuff in the stairwell and me going up and down the stairs putting the stuff in the flat. It was like intervals, I swear to god. I was sweating, my heart was racing… it was exhausting! And not to mention the fact that I hadn’t eaten anything other than breakfast and two apples.

In under an hour though we got everything into the flat and the van was empty. Mike had to dash off to pick his daughter up but I was so grateful for his hard work and effort. I couldn’t have done it without him (or Louise!).

My dad arrived at 3pm and his task was to help me move an old sofa that had been left in the flat to the van so we could take it to the tip. I wasn’t going to kick up a fuss about it as I had a van and we could get rid of it quickly (I would have been in my rights to have done so though).

After dropping that off at the tip, I got a phonecall from my estate agents for the property I was selling saying that the buyer wasn’t happy I’d left the garden table and chairs. I had mistakenly thought I was leaving them (I had agreed to leave a lot of other furniture). So we then had to take the van and take that furniture to the tip.

This was all very rushed as it was just after 4pm and I needed to get the van back. We arrived at the tip literally  at one minute past 4 to find they were closed. WHAT. So we had to swing by my parent’s house to drop the furniture off there as there was nowhere else for it to go and I needed to get the van back ASAP.

My parent’s gardener was there at the time and offered to take it off our hands as she quite fancied the furniture. What a happy ending!! And I got the van back in time. *HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF*

By the time I stopped it was dinner time and I was now out of adrenaline and STARVING. Luckily I’d had the forethought to have made a Hello Fresh meal up in the week that I just had to microwave.IMG_6457

I ate it on a (Hello Fresh) box, surveying the madness.

I’ll leave it there as this ramble has gone on a fair bit. So I can fully confirm that moving house is bloody stressful. But if you’re looking for a good way to start intermittent fasting, house moving really helps 😉 Though not when you then have a massive slice of white chocolate blondie from your freezer stash at the end…

White chocolate blondie

Incidentally this is one of the cakes I got from Wales all those weeks ago. It was AMAZING. And all the better with my cake fork.

Have you ever moved house?

How do you cope under pressure?

Are you an organised or disorganised person?

Moving on

This is a bit of a random post. I just felt the urge to get some words down in a cathartic kind of brain fart, mainly triggered by the fact that I will finally be moving soon.

It’s been over eight months since Ben, my husband, told me he no longer wanted to be with me. Not a day goes past that I don’t think about it. Whether it’s wondering where the cracks began, why I didn’t see them or what my life is going to be like going forward. It’s not something I feel depressed about or cry about anymore. I don’t want sympathy or pity. That isn’t what this post is about. I actually don’t know what this post is about. It’s just a mental dump, forgive me.

I’ve been given a completion date for the flat I’ve bought (finally) so should be moving Friday 4th December. Ben lives in Switzerland and is enjoying his new life out there, with a new job and ambitions. I’m happy for him. We still keep in touch and this makes me both happy and sad. We’re still friends but it’ll never be the same.

I’m happy in myself and enjoying life. I will never regret the time Ben and me had together because we had so many good times and we grew together as people. But I do worry about the future. I have a ticking clock in the back of my mind which I’ve never had before.

I don’t want to get all Bridget Jones and Sex and the City on you, but I do worry that I’ll be that girl. I’m not outgoing and don’t thrive hugely well in social situations… I won’t ‘put myself out there’. Insecurities have cropped up that I never had before… What was wrong with me? Will anyone want someone as running obsessed as me? Am I boring? Nothing makes you face your flaws like the thought of dating. I was with Ben from when I was just 18 and was still ‘finding myself’ and growing as a person. Well, I’ve found myself and there’s not much I can do about changing now. This is me.

Thankfully I’m not really ready to look for anyone else. I feel exhausted and terrified by the whole idea. I’m happy on my own and enjoying the truly selfish aspects that that entails. No one to dress up for, no one to look good for, no one to try and make a good impression for. Just me, sat at home in my pyjamas, my hair a mess, eating too many apples.

I just worry that’ll I’ll get used that lifestyle. It’s so easy to just get stuck into my routines, my habits and introversion. I know what I’m like. I can become very routine-fixed and like things ‘just so’ and without anyone else there to mess up those routines they only become a bit more ingrained. But, like I said, I like my life at the moment and I like those routines. On to the next chapter!

But, still, that damn ticking clock…

If you’re with someone, how did you find your partner?

If you’re single, are you happy being single?

Do you worry about the future? I never used to. I thought I had my whole life planned out.

Rants and Raves #23

Hello! It’s the middle of the week, hurrah! I’m working from home tomorrow so it kind of feels like Friday, but only in that I get a bit of a lie-in tomorrow rather than 5am for the gym. Woop! I’m seeing my Physio again tomorrow so I hope to have another post about my injury (oh the long-standing saga that it is, I’m sorry) another day. But for now, I’m ranting but mostly raving.

Rave: Workout clothes. I can’t stop buying them. It’s becoming an issue. To be fair though, other than food, I really don’t spend my money on much else. Forever21 is my go-to place for good quality and inexpensive gym clothes. Though I do like treating myself to Fabletics some months.

I bought the below ‘muscle tee’ from Forever21 which fits amazingly. It’s perfect for my strength workouts as my arms are nice and free and the side slits help keep me cool. It says ‘No Days Off’. Not true, but still cool.

Forever21

I bought another muscle tee, a crop-top, a crop-top sports bra and two pairs of Nike Pro shorts (not from Forever21 but Zalando). ENOUGH NOW, ANNA.

Rant: Planning my weekends is so tricky at the moment. I still haven’t moved. My solicitors said it could be this week but then who knows. It depends on some enquiries… This is annoying as I’m meant to be seeing my uni friends in Cardiff this Saturday but now I don’t know if I can or not. In fact, we’ve had to rearrange the whole thing because I was going to give one of my friends a lift back and can’t guarantee it anymore. *Sighs*

I’m also just living out of boxes and reluctant to buy any sort of extra condiments or bulk purchases (which I like to do to with items I use regularly to save a bit of money).

Boxes

I’m not using my downstairs toilet anymore because it’s a great place to put boxes (especially food items and crockery) so Alfie can’t get to them. As you can see, my Hello Fresh boxes are very handy!

And I have nowhere to work when I work from home as I sold pretty much all my furniture (I live life on a bean bag with a £5 Ikea side table). I’ve had to use my kitchen to work in. For my standing desk obsession it works quite nicely.Standing desk

Rave: Speaking of Hello Fresh (yes, I know, I’m obsessed)… I finally received the hallowed Recipe Journal. My parents, who also still get Hello Fresh, have two! I introduced them to it first! Anyway, I have one now and it’s already almost full up.Hello Fresh recipe folder

It makes me really proud how may recipes I’ve done (I’ve had 23 boxes – each box contains three recipes). I love it! I eat so many different foods each week and it makes life so much easier cooking a meal and then having another portion of it for the next night.

A few weeks ago I had a lovely warming Mexican broth…Hello Fresh Mecican Broth

With a good dollop of soured cream. Yum.

If you fancy £25 off your first box I have a referral code ZVUM4A (which would also give me £12 off my next box). I’m not affiliated with Hello Fresh, I just love them.

Rave: I’ve recently bought some BCAA formula, AminoX, to help with me at the gym. It isn’t a stimulant but rather it’s designed to support my strength workouts and recovery. It contains essential amino acids, L-Alanine, Taurine and L-Citrulline.AminoX

You just mix one scoop with water and give it a mix. Don’t do what I do and shake it in a bottle vigorously as when you then go to open the lid, it explodes like a foamy volcano. Gentle stirring is required! I got the green apple flavour and it’s really yummy, though luminous green. I can’t say I feel a huge difference but I am lifting heavier weights than ever before – though considering how often I go to the gym and focus on this, that’s not surprising really.

Rant: Alfie’s Halloween costume came last week. Obviously too late for Halloween…and actually too small. For a fiver though I’m not upset.

Dog halloween costume

I’m wondering if I can cut the sides a bit and see if he could fit. He may never forgive me though.

Rave: This ice cream.

Oppo ice cream

It’s called Oppo and has the fabulous tagline of “Eat like a whale, look like a mermaid”. I got the salted caramel flavour. The ingredients are far better looking than Ben and Jerry’s and so are the nutritional stats for 100ml:

  • Energy (Kcal): 77.3
  • Fat: 3.8g (saturates: 2.8g)
  • Carbohydrate: 7.6g (sugars: 6.7g)
  • Protein: 3.2g
  • Sodium: 0.1

I’m a volume person when it comes to eating (more food = better) and will happily admit I ate the entire tub in one sitting, which was around 400 calories in total. That’s comparable to a slice of cake. Though cake always wins in my eyes, this was such a nice treat for a Friday night.

Rave: I saw this picture on Jamie Oliver’s Instagram…him with Orlando Bloom.Jamie and Orlando

Be still my beating heart. I have such a crush on Jamie Oliver it’s ridiculous. I just think he’s so lovely. And I used to be obsessed with Orlando Bloom during his LOTR days. It’s like a dream come true to have them side by side in a photo… *sighs*.

Who’s your celebrity crush? Who did you fancy when you were younger?

What’s your favourite ice cream and ice cream flavour?

Do you cook from scratch every evening?