Grumpy running, good snacking and a leg workout

Brrrrrrrrrrrr!! It is cold! Sorry to state the bleeding obvious but it really is. OK we don’t have snow and I know we’re far better off than you warriors up North or in countries with lots of snow, so apologies for my pathetic moaning.

Saturday morning I optimistically put on my shorts for parkrun but after taking Alfie for a quick walk I realised this would not be a wise move. It was so much colder than it had been in the week – and very windy.

I had intended to wear all three of my new running tops and take one off on each lap (as I mentioned, jokingly, in a previous post – then people actually wanted me to do it) but it was too cold for short sleeves! Before realising how cold it was I did put them on with the intention of wearing them…IMG_6151Top layer was to be the Bournemouth finisher’s t-shirt, then the Marathon Talk t-shirt, then finally the parkrun 50 t-shirt.IMG_6153It was going to be so good… Then I stepped outside with Alfie and thought “yeah this isn’t going to happen”. There was no way I’d want to strip off any layers when I was running!! Instead I put on some leggings and a long-sleeved top.

I got to parkrun to meet the other set-up crew guys and we were all pretty miserable and cold. It was windy and wet as well as stupidly cold. As the minutes ticked closer to the start I started to feel more and more apprehensive and, well, moody about the whole thing. I was so close to just going home. My muscles all felt really cold, creaky and just niggly. I was worried about my knee and worried about needing to stop.

I did a quick warm-up with some of the guys and I just felt myself sinking further and further into a bad mood and was certain I couldn’t run the whole parkrun.

At the start my friend Mark realised I wasn’t in the best of moods and, bless him, he tried to pull me out of it by running with me and chatting. At first I just wanted to stop and give up – I gave him fairly blunt responses to his questions and conversation attempts. I was so cold and I couldn’t warm up. I couldn’t seem to run any faster either, and I was nervous to push it anyway because of my knee, which was feeling uncomfortable.

Mark realised how cold I was and gave me his jacket mid-run which was nice of him and did help. Possibly because I wasn’t running very fast (for me) and how cold the wind was I just didn’t get warm until the 3rd mile. By then I had started to come out from my dark place and actually be a nice human being to Mark. He was very patient with me and I wouldn’t have blamed him to have left me!parkrun splits




In the end I ran 27:18, my slowest parkrun in a long while and possibly one of the worst in terms of enjoyment. We were also on the winter course which is worse anyway in terms of hills (and wind). I was so glad when it was over. My knee didn’t hurt but it was uncomfortable, but given the conditions I’ll take it!

I was in such a better mood afterwards as you can imagine. I was warmer, relaxed and just glad to have got it done. And there was cake made by my lovely friend, Sheryl, who was celebrating her 150th parkrun!!IMG_6154

Mar bar crispies and Malteaser bites

I was in my happy place once again 🙂 The hot drink in the cafe afterwards was much needed as well!

Later on my friend, Tom, was celebrating his 30th birthday with a Mexican and Cowboy themed party. His wife, my close friend Louise, had made some really tasty cupcakes and an immense Cactus cake. There was a spread of nachos and dips and a chilli slow cooking as well.Cactus cakeThere were churro cupcakes (with cinnamon sugar and a doughnut texture) and piñata cupcakes that had Smarties in the middle!! I can attest that both cupcakes were very tasty 😉

I also brought round some popcorn I’d found in Budgens.IMG_6156For 99p and buy one get one free I call that a definite bargain! Marshmallow popcorn?? Yes please! To be fair though, it actually just tasted like sweet popcorn with a slight marshmallow hint.1 I think I was expecting chunks of marshmallow stuck to pieces of popcorn (what an idea, eh??) and the salted popcorn was basically sweet and salty. But tasty nonetheless!

I didn’t do a very good job at the fancy dress by just having a checked shirt so Louise did my hair in plaits for me and lent me her hat 😉IMG_6167I couldn’t stay for the evening sadly as my parents had invited me over for a meal with some friends, which also meant I didn’t see the main cake being cut 🙁 Lou, the lovely friend she is, said I could pop over the next day to pick some up. Always need friends like that in your life!IMG_6194After seeing Lou and Tom on Sunday morning, I headed to the gym for my leg workout. I don’t know if you guys care to see what I did but here it is anyway…

  • Squat: (warmup sets first): 4x 65kg, 6x 62.5kg, 8x 62.5kg x3, 10x 60kg x2, 8 x60kg
  • Box squat: 12x 60kg, 12x 65kg, 12x 70kg, 10x 75kg x2
  • Deadlift (warmup sets first): 6x 65kg x2, 8x 62.5kg x2, 10x 60kg, 10x 55kg x2
  • Hack squat: 12x 47.6kg, 12x 57.6kg x4
  • Sumo squat: 20x 10kg, 20x 20kg x4

Followed by some glute kickbacks/sidekicks on the cable machine and ab work. It’s a lot quieter on Sundays than Saturdays so it was nice not to feel crowded. The hack squat was a new machine to me, which focuses primarily on the quads. I prefer the leg press machine but it wasn’t working annoyingly. The hack squat machine was quite painful on my shoulders and left marks, despite there being cushions on it. It wasn’t a fun experience!

Anyway the rest of the day was same-old same-old: Alfie walks, housework and watching a new-to-me TV series, True Detective. The first episode was soooo s.l.o.w. I’m hoping it’ll pick up. My physio leant me the box-set so I need to get through it fairly quickly (I feel bad hanging on to borrowed things for too long).

What’s your favourite popcorn flavour?

What machines do you like to use at the gym?

What’s the coolest shaped cake you’ve seen (in real life, not on the Internet!)?

Portlebay Popcorn

It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a popcorn addict. I pop my own salt and pepper popcorn and have as part of my lunch every day at work. My office initially thought I was bonkers but now they’ve come to accept my weird little obsession.

Along with my more simple popcorn, I love trying the different flavours that have come out as well. There’s definitely been an explosion of popcorn in the past few years. No longer is it just the butter and sugar drenched stuff you buy to pop yourself and eat at home while watching a film or buy jumbo buckets of at the cinema. Recent flavours out there have also fully embraced the salty sweet flavour combo that is in full force at the moment too. It’s a match made in heaven in my eyes!

Portlebay Popcorn do a range of popcorn flavours called Kracklecorn which is “hand popped” in Devon.


Kracklecorn is where they’ve added raw cane sugar as the grains are popping which makes the popcorn more brittle and crunchy. They sent me a fabulous selection of popcorn flavours to test out and review. Honestly, I was blown away by the variety they had!


I’ve previously tried the Crispy Bacon and Maple Syrup flavour and adored it so I knew that flavour would be fine. But Lemon Sherbet? Very Berry? That sounds mental! The three new flavours that Portlebay have released are Very Berry, Cinnamon Swirl and Lemon Sherbet.

Lemon Sherbert popcorn

The Lemon Sherbet flavour was fairly subtle – don’t expect to get your head blown off. But it did have that tangy lemonness and fizziness you’d expect from the original sweet and it went so well with the popcorn. It tasted delicious!. It was my second favourite flavour (the maple bacon still has my heart).


The Very Berry flavour was equally as subtle and extremely tasty. There were hints of berry-ness without it being overwhelming. IMG_1277

The Cinnamon Swirl I was initially not sure about. It tasted very “American” if you know what I mean. It smelt quite synthetic. Cinnamon isn’t a huge flavour in the UK (unless it’s Christmas), unlike the US, and it reminded me of the sweet cinnamon things you can easily eat over there but not so much here. After a few bits I decided I did like it. Again, subtle flavours.

The one flavour I wasn’t sure about was the Smoked Cheddar. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t awful but it was just odd. It had a cheesy flavour but was still slightly sweet. I don’t think I’d have this flavour again, but I wouldn’t throw it back at someone if they offered me some!

I won’t go into the nutritional details for all the popcorn but I’ll give you an example.

Cinnamon Swirl (per 25g)

  • Calories: 111 calories
  • Protein: 1.3g
  • Fat: 4g
  • Of which saturates: 0.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 16.2g
  • Of which sugars: 7g
  • Fibre: 2.7g
  • Salt: 0.1g

The range of calories per bag for the flavours is around 110-115 calories, so less than a packet of crisps and nice and filling with the fibre. The ingredients lists are also fairly clean without any nasty, strange sounding chemicals. They’re not vegan (they contain lactose) but they are gluten free.

By far Portlebay are the best range of popcorn I’ve had. The crunchiness of the actual popcorn gives a nice eating experience (does that make sense?) and the flavours are really good. Big thumbs up from this popcorn addict! I just cannot buy bigger bags though as I won’t stop eating.

What’s your favourite popcorn flavour?

What do you snack on when you’ve got the munchies?

What’s the weirdest flavour you’ve tried (of anything!)?

***Full Disclosure: I was sent the popcorn for free to review. All opinions are my own honest ones.***

Rants and Raves #13

My raves are far outweighing my rants at the moment, which is obviously very good! I just hope life continues along this pattern…

Rave: A while ago at parkrun there was a guy who noticed I was wearing a hairband to keep the hair off my face. He asked if I was a fan of the hairbands, I said I was (obviously) and he said he had a load he could give me for free if I wanted them. He’d bought them for himself to keep his hair out of his face but discovered they probably weren’t his style. Considering I spent around £7 for six I was quite keen to have some for free! OK they’re not the most expensive things in the world but they’re not cheap and I have limited colours.

Anyway that was a while ago and I sort of forgot about it. A couple of parkruns ago he tapped me on the shoulder and said “remember me? The hairband guy!” and he gave me the unwanted hairbands.


Amazing! Now I have more colours to choose from – hurrah! I like wearing the hairbands to the gym and running because I get wispy hair stuck on my face and it can be very annoying. I’m not sure yet if I’ll wear one at the marathon though as they can slip down from time to time (I think I have a small head) and I can’t bear to be adjusting it for miles on end.

Rant: After the Cakeathon and driving home I had some serious runger, as you can imagine. My parents thankfully had looked after Alfie over the weekend but had dropped him off a few hours before so when I got in I needed to walk him…food had to wait a few more minutes. By the time I got back and started preparing said food I was really hungry and rushing around to make myself something. I went into the freezer and picked up a bag of mini veg and didn’t realise it was upside down.


Oh how I wish it had been sprouts or big bits of broccoli, not teeny tiny bits of veg. It was then a race between Alfie and me to see who could pick up the most veg. What it is about frozen vegetables that appeals to my dog I’m not entirely sure. This was not a fun process I can assure you, especially in the raging stages of runger.

[Edit to add: this morning I had a similar incident with frozen berries. It’s amazing I can get through life so well…]

Rave: OK this is quite old news now but I had a bit of fun (and torture) seeing how old the Internet thought I was.

How old

Obviously I’ve cherry picked a ‘good’ photo here haha! I tried a few photos and let’s just say it can make your day or ruin it 😉 But seriously though, I wouldn’t want to be 19 again. I’m actually quite happy being almost 27, despite my life taking a huge twist of events recently.

Rant: Back to the little furry monster, he’s so similar to me in that he has his own ingrained habits and routine in an evening. As soon as I’ve finished dinner and washing up I’ll hear the dreaded sound of a tennis ball dropping at my feet. I turn around and this little face is looking up at me.


“Oh have you finished, can we play now please?” is what that face is saying. Every single night. So I stand on one side of the house and throw the ball to the other side of the house until he is panting and I’m bored. I just can’t say no to that face.

Rave: It’s arrived! My bib for my impending marathon has arrived. It’s funny because this whole marathon process is so different from my other two in every way.


Unlike Paris and Berlin, I don’t have to go to the expo the day before, I don’t have to worry about what I’ll be eating for my pre-race dinner or breakfast and most people will speak English in and around the race! And obviously the whole training process has been so different. I plan on writing a marathon training recap post soon. I just don’t want to jinx anything just yet!!

Rant: OK not a real rant… The Cakeathon for next year has sold out already! I know a few of my club wanted to do it but didn’t get round to entering in time and some other people expressed interest as well who have now missed out. But the race only has 100 or so spaces and it is clearly a big hit. I’m so thankful that I entered straight away. There is a waiting list and I think they host the event twice a year (as I know there’s one in August this year – also sold out) so there could still be a chance for anyone keen.

Rave: Alpro’s new Coconut Almond milk. It tastes really good. Though it is definitely sweeter than the almond milk (though conversely slightly less calories per 100ml than the unsweetened almond milk). It’s a nice change I must say! I bought mine in Tesco.


Have you missed out on entering a race before?

What are you latest rants and raves?

How do you keep your hair back when you’re exercising?

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?

What I ate Sunday

How quickly is this week going? It helps having had Monday off I know…

The sun has still been shining which is crazy. In fact, I’m not sure I should even type it as I don’t want to jinx it. Let’s prepare for rain. Or snow. Who knows! Funny side story, my parents just got back from Barbados all brown and tanned (there’s no bitterness in my voice, is there…?) and then my mum sits in the garden for an afternoon in Britain and gets absolutely fried because she didn’t put suntan lotion on. Oh the irony.

I thought this week I’d do What I ate Wednesday Sunday as it was pretty darn tasty, if I do say so myself.


Thanks to Jenn as always for hosting this party. Let’s get started then!

Breakfast was something a little bit crazy for me. I tried quinoa oatmeal.


I’m not going to lie, this will never replace normal oatmeal. It was alright but nothing amazing. Quite a nutty taste. OK I probably could have put something more than just almond milk in it but I’m used to just plain oats so I was all at odds with what to do. I’m not good with change, people.

Lunch however was a show-stopper. I was inspired by Sara’s recipe HERE which I just had to make at the nearest opportunity as it sounded so good.


Mine doesn’t look nearly as good but it tasted AMAING. Ben looked aghast at what I was making (“goat’s cheese….and strawberries…in an omelette???”)


I made the strawberry sauce as per Sara’s instructions, using a little bit of Stevia and organic strawberries, microwaving them up to get them all jammy and amazing.


Absolutely heavenly.


This has been happening a lot around these parts as well. Thrown in the microwave in a hardy container, then sprayed with Fry Light and coated with salt. Cannot. Get. Enough.

Dinner was two tortilla pizzas. Yes two, I am a pig. No judgement please.


Can I just say that when lunch requires two dinner place mats you know it’s going to be good.

I used wholemeal tortillas, covered them with a home-made tomato sauce using half a tin of chopped tomatoes and a load of Italian herbs. I then covered it with a whole load of veggies (onion, zucchini, mushrooms), chopped chicken and blobs of cream cheese. And BBQ sauce. Just because Winking smile Then oven-cooked them for like 12mins.


So good.

An honourable mention also needs to go to Monday night’s dinner. Strawberries, quinoa with a tablespoon of honey mixed in, and feta on salad.


Salty, sweet…deeelicious.


And Ben even enjoyed this. In fact, if I remember correctly he said “can we have this again?” Jackpot!

And my outfit featuring two items from my shopping adventure:IMG_4280

Apologies for the concentrated look on my face…there’s no non-awkward way to take a selfie

Top from Warehouse (new!), jeans from Top Shop, wedges from Dorothy Perkins (new!). Absolute school girl error though in wearing my new shoes to work and then walking to the shops at lunch in them. Stupid. Now I have two big old blisters.

What’s the best thing you ate today? I think mine was popcorn as part of my lunch at work…see, I’m addicted.

What’s your favourite pizza (or tortilla pizza) topping? Mine is BBQ chicken with loads of veg.

Does your partner eat the same food as you? My hubby will normally eat what I eat but if it sounds ‘too healthy’ he will opt out and have something more “manly’”, like cheesy pasta. He avoids sweet potato like the plague, it’s heart-breaking.