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 😉

Spinning fail

I was so mad Monday morning. I didn’t mention it in my last post as I wanted to just focus on the great weekend I’d enjoyed and not bring down the mood.

Sunday night I decided ‘oh what the hell’ I’d get up early Monday morning to do spin. I don’t want to do too much running this week as I want my body to have a little running-rest. So I thought I’d do spin instead. I’d rather just get it done in the morning because then it’s done and dusted and I’m up early to get on with the housework. I also booked circuits afterwards. Then I could chill later feeling smug.

So I got up at 5.40am on my day off to make this class. I got there for the 6.30am start feeling good to go. I was then informed that the instructor hadn’t turned up or bothered to ring to explain why.


I almost cried. I was so annoyed. The instructor who told me the news explained she couldn’t take the class either as she wasn’t trained. I think she could see how annoyed I was. I mean, seriously, I COULD HAVE STILL BEEN IN BED!

But she was lovely and did a legs, bums and tums (LBT) class for us instead. Not spinning, but better than the elliptical machine I’d be eyeing dubiously as I realised I’d be there for an hour before circuits.

LBT and circuits seriously did a number on my behind (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d type) as I ached a lot the next day. Circuits involved a lot of burpees (the work of the devil), press-ups, squats, planks…all those crazy things I haven’t really been doing for quite a while and LBT was just a whole load of lower body-related pain.

So this week is all about pump, circuits and spin. I think my next run will be Parkrun. This feels quite strange but it’s nice to be mixing things up.

Speaking of mixing things up [now this is quite boring but for a simple person like me this is crazy]… At the weekend in Essex I had my usual oatmeal for breakfast but ‘normal’ people don’t drink almond milk (normal –> mainstream/non-allergic/non-intolerant) and I wasn’t carting almond milk with me to Ben’s dad’s, I had whatever milk that was available.


[I might have taken my own chia seeds with me to Essex, shhh I know this is sad]

I had whole milk. I haven’t had whole milk in forever. Before almond milk I used to drink/use skimmed. God forbid I chose *whispers* full fat milk. But now I’m not fussed. I know that fat isn’t the devil (burpees are – we covered that, right?). I only choose almond milk because it makes oatmeal taste so damn good and it also means Ben doesn’t drink it so we never have stock control issues Winking smile

Let me tell you, people, if you’ve never put whole milk in oatmeal you are missing out. Creamy, thick, delicious…heavenly! Definitely be recreating this at home (and still doesn’t cause stock control issues as Ben prefers skimmed – everybody’s happy!)

Actually one of my friends said to me that she puts cream in her oatmeal if she has it. I’m not sure I could handle that much creaminess in my stomach so early in the day – but I am intrigued I must admit…

Has anything really annoyed you recently? Go on, have a rant. It feels so good afterwards Winking smile

What recipe/concoction have you found surprisingly yummy lately?

What’s your workout hell? Burpees. Every. Single. Time.

Call me goldilocks

Zoom zoom how the days are flying! Thanks for your lovely comments on my baking fail in my last post. It’s the equivalent of an ugly kid I think – you tell them it’s what’s on the inside that matters (i.e. the taste), not the appearance Winking smile And the cake tasted amazing so that’s all that mattered.

I’m currently feeling a bit achy and tired from my interval session with the running club last night. Ack, it was painful. I literally hate those sessions. I much prefer a lovely nice run. Not this “run to that lamppost at top speed” nonsense. But it must be done. And you do feel great afterwards (after the nausea and pain has disappeared…).


This is a snapshot of the training (a graphical representation if you will…oooh er). I’m amazed that one of my last intervals was my fastest! The intervals increased in distance (as we went to the next lamppost along and back) but none really went on longer than a minute I guess. No way I could sustain this for a long time!

So it’s What I Ate Wednesday today (check out Jenn’s blog for more information).

I thought I’d show you my eats recently. Because I’m running around 30 miles a week (and two of those sessions focused on speed – Tuesday night’s session and Saturday’s Parkrun) and doing two spinning classes a week (and 30 minutes of pump at the weekend) I’m finding myself quite hungry quite frequently (surprise surprise eh). Sometimes ‘hangry’ (angry with hunger – or food rage as Ben describes it).

To combat this I’ve been trying to ramp up my between meal snacking to more filling options. Also I’m a voluminous eater (i.e. I like a big plate of food and regular snacks otherwise I feel cheated with life) so this works out nicely for me.

Breakfast: same old same old but with a slight change.


Oatmeal (a good half a cup) and a tablespoon of chia seeds with enough almond milk to give it a good thick consistency. Zapped in the microwave (I’m sorry, cold over-night oats don’t float my boat. It’s gotta be steamy and stodgy for my liking – call me goldilocks). I haven’t really caught on to the chia seed bandwagon that always seems so hot in the blogging world. However, I’ve recently been reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and he mentions chia seeds (briefly really) in one of the things that seem to help the amazing tribe runners run. Well I am sold. Jeeze I am such a sucker for books and what they tell me. Honestly I believe anything if it’s written in a book by a supposed credible source.

Lunch: I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t snack between breakfast and lunch. I never need to I find. I’m an afternoon and evening snacker.


This might just look like vegetables and salad but I assure you within this vast Tupperware box there is also a whole load of tuna. Like I said, I’m a voluminous eater. I love eating a monster salad that takes me a year to get through.

After this I have a box of popcorn. I’ve been added salt to my popcorn as I don’t think I eat enough salt and with all that running and sweating it can’t be a bad thing to add!IMG_4223

I probably have a couple of cups worth of popcorn. I’ve actually started a wave of popcorn eaters in the office. Everyone’s gone popcorn mad now! I’m proud.

Then I have low-fat (but not 0%) Greek yogurt. I like it a bit creamy but not overly so.


In the morning before work I pop in a load of frozen fruit and by the time lunch comes round it’s all defrosted and the yogurt is still lovely and chilled with lovely added flavour from the fruit.

First snack: usually this is something from my Graze box:


My favourites being the dip ones… ahh I love those sweet jammy dips.

Healthy snacks

Or other bits and pieces, like dried fruit and nuts.

Then later I’ll have an apple and a banana and lots of peppermint tea. If I’m still feeling peckish I’ll probably dive back into the graze box again (I love them!)

When it comes to dinner the only problem I’m having is that when I’m at running club I find it hard to have a large meal straight away. But this the other night was perfect. I had prepared the tomato sauce and got everything ready to go in the oven before I left for running club and then it was just a case of leaving it to cook while I showered, which allowed my stomach to chill out a bit before chucking food into it straight away.


This was chicken, stuffed with goat’s cheese and wrapped in two pieces of lean bacon. I’m not a fan of stringy bacon but I like the lean stuff. Then I coated it with a herby tomato sauce and served it with broccoli. Perfect.

Post-dinner snacks: In the evening I always need snacks.Healthy snacks 2

After my post-dinner apples (never changes) a bit later on I’ll snack on a cheese string and a yogurt. Lately I’ve been loving the Activia yogurts especially the thick and creamy ones. Lots of protein so nice and filling before bed!

And that’s me. After running club and my stomach has settled a bit it’s a case of trying to eat as much food as I can within a shortened period of time. I’m not necessarily hungry in the evening but I hate waking up famished and if I’ve got spinning the next day (like I do Fridays after running club Thursday evening) I want to know I’ve got fuel in the tank so I’m good to go.

What do you snack on between meals? I used to only go for fruit (love it) but it wasn’t very sustaining. So now it’s all about nuts and protein-based things like yogurt and cheese (the strings and Babybels).

How do you make sure you’re eating enough for the exercise you’re doing? I don’t want to lose any weight. I want to be strong and healthy and damn fast at running so this is really important for me.

What workouts do you do that you just hate but know you should do them?

You can never have too many puddings…

I don’t know about you but this week is dragging. But it’s finally mid-week. On a side not, embarrassingly, it has taken me ages to get why people say “happy hump day” on a Wednesday. Yep, I’m that slow. (Pssst, if you didn’t know too it’s because you’re over the ‘hump’ of the week!)

And being Wednesday I’m back in the game for What I Ate Wednesday.


Thanks, Jenn, for hosting as ever.

This is food is from Sunday – aka 5 mile race day (recap still to come!)

Breakfast – what a surprise I know. If you’ve been a long-time reader you know this is fairly standard stuff. And on race day it isn’t going to change!


Oatmeal and unsweetened almond milk

I had this before 8am, the race started at 10.30am so enough time to digest adequately! And perfect fuelage for the race.

And to make things interesting, here’s what Ben ate:


He wanted to share as he felt his breakfast was up to healthy standards for once Winking smile He went for oatmeal with cow’s milk, dried fruit and a chopped banana. Notably absent was any added sugar!

After the race, hanging about chatting to people and getting home, we were famished! So we straight away had lunch.


This is re-used photo as I forgot to snap it before the hunger beast took over

I had one of my favourite quick meals. Chicken, random veggies and half a tin of pumpkin puree with cream cheese. I know it looks pretty grim there, but seriously this is heavenly.

Sunday was a great day of snacking as well… I might have had another one of these my granddad had left with us:


Meringue with dark chocolate and strawberry on top

And dinner was another repeat offender but one we hadn’t had in a while.


Beef meatballs. Mine is on the left and Ben’s is on the right. If he can put cheese on something, he will. I love this meal. I am still loving beef mince.

And pudding…well pudding was fantastic.


This was a slice of raspberry sponge cake that I got at the end of the 5 mile race. No medals, but a choice of cakes! That’s my kinda running. I didn’t eat it straight after the run as I just didn’t fancy cake straight away (food immediately after running just doesn’t go well in my stomach, plus I wanted to savour it later with a hot drink), so I had it after dinner with a hot chocolate. And I reaaaally enjoyed it.

Er…I might have nabbed another slice of cake as well at the race. I twinkled my eyes and gave my best smile to wrangle another slice of cake… Absolute lie, I offered cold hard cash. All of 50 pence to be exact Winking smile


Slice of banana bread (infected a little with the raspberry sponge)

Unfortunately I had to share this slice with Ben. *Sighs* I do hate being married. Totally joking Winking smile

An honourable mention this week is the appearance of one of our favourite salads.


Grilled halloumi (or fairly well done halloumi, whoops) with a whole host of veggies and roasted butternut squash. Divine.

As you can, I love my balance. On the one side I’m a huge fan of salads, fresh vegetables, home-cooked meals, and obviously my beloved and ever-present apples. But on the other side, I will always have my cake. Cake is my indulgence. Cake is my weakness. I need it every week to feel 100% Anna and 100% happy. It’s my soul food. I like to give my body good foods and good fuel to keep it healthy and happy. But for my soul, my mind, my spirit – whatever you want to call it – I need cake. My happy food. Don’t get m wrong I don’t have it every day (seriously, who can afford cake every day?) but it definitely makes a routine appearance every week. Whether I’m curled up on the sofa watching a film on a Saturday night, or sat in a cafe having a chinwag with my mum, or munching on something a co-worker has brought in to the office, I will have my cake. And it is always eaten Smile

Just don’t get me to choose between cake and apples. It can’t be done.

What is your soul food? It doesn’t necessarily have to be ‘naughty’! I would class apples as my soul food too. Basically it’s the food I always look forward to eating, always enjoy eating, it never gets old, and always makes me a happy happy Anna.

What are your repeat offender meals? Halloumi salads are a winner in our house, but meatballs are more of a weekend food as they take a bit longer to throw together,

What’s your ideal pre-race/workout fuel? Oatmeal has always worked (race or no race). Ben will always have a banana but sometimes will leave it at that or have something bigger.

A Little Change – WIAW

Hi guys, hope you’re all well. As usual, it’s What I Ate Wednesday. Check out Jenn’s blog to get involved or peruse other people’s exciting eats. I can’t promise mine will rock your world, but I certainly enjoyed them Smile


The theme is to get your veggies in and, to be honest, I never really have a problem with this. I’m a big vegetable fan (not you though, celery, you can stay back). Usually every evening meal is accompanied by a big serving of veg. Ben used to be shocked, but now he just expects it.

Breakfast is where I draw the line with veggies though. I just have my bog standard bowl of oats with almond milk, zapped up in a delightfully stodgy heap of deliciousness.


Are you surprised? I literally don’t change. I literally haven’t changed this for about 8 years. I think I just like how simple it is to make, how filling it is and how much I love eating it. Why would I  change?

Lunch has been a different affair at work recently. Last week I had my usual monster tuna salad, Babybel and yogurt with fruit at work. It’s easier to throw together and I like it.


However, I’ve been finding that I hit the afternoon and find myself feeling FAMISHED. I tend to have a banana and apple to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner and that used to be fine, but recently this hasn’t worked. I would drive home feeling not so great and in need of food. LIKE NOW.

I’m thinking it’s because I’m running more. I never used to run 5 times a week and never the mileage I’m doing now. Because I’ve crept the mileage up quite gently I haven’t really thought about increasing my food as well. Typing this now actually makes me feel stupid. It’s another “well duh Anna” moment.

Now you might have noticed, I’m not a huge carb lover. You can take your bread, your pasta, your rice…I’d much rather have protein or fat. Salads piled high with veg, cheese and chicken. Roasted vegetables with melted cheese. Chicken stews with a side portion of veg.

However, this isn’t working for me right now.

It’s annoying because I like what I eat. I don’t want to change, but let’s be sensible here. So for lunch at work I’ve swapped the tuna salad for a turkey bacon and cream cheese sandwich…


…With a side portion of salad. I can change some things but not all! I also had fruit with Alpro soya yogurt and frozen fruit salad (that had nicely defrosted by lunch). This has definitely made me feel a bit better. I also adore the combination of bacon with cream cheese.

Then for dinner I tried something crazy (in Ben’s eyes). I attempted…savoury oatmeal. I was dubious going into this if I’m honest. I mean, I eat porridge every single morning and suddenly having it with chicken and vegetables. Well, that’s just weird…or is it?


Yeah OK it doesn’t look great, does it? It looks pretty much like sludge. But! It tasted so good. It didn’t remind me of breakfast at all. It was just a completely different meal.

I based it on THIS recipe but added a few bits and pieces to make it a bit more filling for my new found hunger.

Chicken Savoury Oatmeal (aka Sludge for Dinner) (serves 1)

  • 1/2 cup (40g) quick-cook oats 
  • Garlic clove, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 small mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 350ml (1 & 2/3 cup) chicken stock
  • 1tbs nutritional yeast

– Fry onions in a little oil for 5 minutes, then add garlic for a minute.

– Add chicken, mushrooms and zucchini and fry until chicken is cooked.

– While this is happening, cook the oats on the hob with the stock. Add more water if it looks too thick.

– Then combine all the ingredients together and add the nutritional yeast. Then serve when at the consistency you want.


Yep, still sludge. But it tasted so good and was so filling.

Another meal I really enjoyed was Monday night. We had a lentil meal which we both loved (BBC Good Food recipe: Middle Eastern Chicken and Apricot Stew).


Very simple to make and really flavoursome.

So, more carbs I hope you noticed. OK I didn’t go crazy – I didn’t chomp my way through a full-sized French baguette obviously. But I’ve been adding bits and pieces and adopting this pattern now throughout the week and my energy levels are so much better. I’m not a horrific beast when I get in after work (can you hear that sigh of relief from Ben??) Small changes!

Have you found that you needed to change what you were eating to compensate an increase in exercise?

What’s your favourite carb?

Have a great Wednesday!