What I’ve been loving lately (July)

July has flown by, it is CRAZY.

So some cool stuff has been happening round here.

I’ve been eating some very tasty food as of late. As you should well know by now I’m a big believer in eating for your body and for your soul. Kyle and I went to the newly opening Greenwich pub which is home to the Nice Slice. They sell RIDICULOUS pizzas (20 inches!), burgers, chicken and lots of vegan options. We went with work friends for a random Thursday dinner and it was GOOD.

I had the double chicken burger (the Mickey Burger) with buffalo sauce and pickles with a side of chicken wings (obvs).

Kyle had a 20 inch (!) meaty pizza. I did have a cheeky slice πŸ˜‰

The burger and wings were fairly spicy. I should have ordered the other chicken burger I think, that didn’t have buffalo sauce because two lots of buffalo was quite a bit to contend with! It was very tasty though. We’ll definitely go back!

Over the last year or so I’ve become a big M&M fan. I don’t know quite how this has happened but it’s happened. I’m actually not a big fan of the traditional chocolate ones, but all the others are a big yes for me (I could literally eat a giant bag of the peanut ones…god so good).

Anyway, I recently spotted in Tesco that they’d brought out an M&M chocolate bar – in several different flavours. I’m not a hazlenut fan (urgh Nutella…) so I avoided that one, but I bought the others. LEMME TELL YOU, they are INCREDIBLE.

It’s speckled with mini M&M’s and the peanut one has peanuts throughout. Very yummy!

I’ve also heard on the grapevine that there are now salted caramel M&M’s as well. They currently do the caramel ones, but they’re crunchy rather than soft like the American version (I love both to be honest). I will be grabbing some as soon as I can.

On a perhaps more health-focused note, I was recently sent some supplements from Wicked Gummy Co.

They’re almost like sweets, I kid you not. I was sent the full line-up: Happy Tummy, Hair, Skin & Nails, Multi Vitamin, Peaceful Zzzzz and Vitamin D Sunshine. A solid list of good stuff.

They are very much like gummy sweet and are tasty to eat. They’re also vegan friendly. They do contain glucose though, so be wary on that front if you’re popping all the supplement at once. That’s a fair amount of sugar!

The Multi Vitamin contains vitamin C, A, B6, E, selenium and biotin. This is all good for bone health, the immune system, vision and brain. The Peaceful Zzzzz contains valerian root extract (which has been argued to help with sleep, though I think conclusive scientific evidence isn’t there yet) and 5-HTP (again, similar to valerian).

The Hair, Skin & Nails contains similar ingredients to the multi vitamin but with zinc and folate. Happy Tummy contains Lactobacillus cultures, which are supposed to help promote good bacteria in your gut.

Now I can’t say for certain if my hair has suddenly become shinier, or my bones stronger, or I’ve caught less colds BUT they taste really nice and are easier to take than “proper” tablets. If you want to up your vitamins but hate tablets or don’t think your diet is good enough then these might be a good shout. To be honest, I just quite enjoy having a couple after my breakfast for a nice sweet treat πŸ™‚

Do you take any supplements?

What’s your favourite kind of M&M?

Do go out for dinner with work people?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the supplements from Wicked Gummy Co for free in return for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**


One year anniversary and being exceptionally greedy

Asides from managing a run this weekend, Kyle and I also had an enjoyable couple of days eating ALL the food and celebrating our one year anniversary.

After parkrun (and brunch) we got ourselves showered and ready to meet up with my friends Mike and Hannah for some very entertaining mini-golf. It was nine holes, Kyle and I versus Mike and Hannah and honestly it was hilarious how bad we all were. I think I was probably the worst, but it was a close call.

It was good fun and the weather, despite being a bit rainy and overcast in the morning, was lovely in the afternoon. Kyle and I lost! We then popped into the Tenth Hole cafe for some tea and cake afterwards.

Anyone who’s been to Southsea will be aware of the Tenth Hole and their amazing selection of cakes. To be fair, the Parade Tearooms (where we went for brunch) is also amazing so really you’re spoilt for choice.

Because Kyle and me are greedy creatures, we both ordered a cake each and a cake to share as we couldn’t make our minds up. Why do we do this? Normal people order one cake. Or normal people SHARE a slice, especially the size that Tenth Hole serve.

But we are who we are. So I ordered a slice of the raspberry and coconut cake, Kyle ordered the flake cake and we shared a chunk of rocky road (our absolute favourite). In retrospect this wasn’t sensible. We absolutely didn’t need the third cake. But you only live once (a short life at the rate I’m going ha).

The slice of raspberry and coconut was GINORMOUS. The chunk of rocky road was rather large too. I could neither finish the raspberry cake nor my half of the rockty road. But you know what? It was nice to have the two to try!

I did take the rest home for my parents so it wasn’t wasted.

The next day was a special day for us as it was Kyle and my one year anniversary. I won’t go into too much cheesy mush as that’s not quite my style, but I’m very lucky and feel very loved πŸ™‚ We’ve had a fantastic year and look forward to many more.

To celebrate we decided, of course, to go out for food.

We chose 7Bone Burger, which is one of Kyle’s favourites and then Sprinkles for pudding, which is one of my favourites. Don’t get me wrong, I do really like 7Bone Burger but I’m not a huge burger fan (whereas Kyle is) but I know their chicken wings and halloumi fries are awesome.

So we headed their for lunch on Sunday. I ordered two portions of the buffalo wings (technically they were sides…) which came with a blue cheese dip (and I got the buffalo sauce on the side as it’s super hot) and halloumi fries. Kyle got a burger and halloumi fries.

It was delicious! I decided to eat strategically and made sure to leave a few wings and halloumi fries so I wouldn’t be *too* full later for Sprinkles. I’m good but I’m not THAT good.

After 7Bone we did a bit of shopping in West Quay (hugely helping to let things digest and go down a bit) and then walked to Sprinkles.

I went for my absolute favourite, the Sticky Situation. This is basically vanilla gelato with white and milk chocolate sauce and buttons with hot cookie dough at the bottom of a jar. It is INCREDIBLE.

Kyle ordered two milkshakes (a peanut butter one and a hazelnut chocolate one) because he couldn’t decide and wellllll we were celebrating.

We both felt very full but satisfied afterwards (*cough* slightly sick). Yes we are clearly very greedy but we don’t do this that often. We certainly enjoyed ourselves. Plus guys I ran THREE MILES the day before. That’s a lot of calories burnt (you know I’m joking).

So a fantastic weekend of running (yesssss), good times and good food.

What’s your favourite ice cream related dessert?

Are you a burger fan?

Are you good at golf? (Mini/crazy/”proper”)

The comeback?

Well honestly, I can’t wait for a post that isn’t about my hamstring. It’s had FAR too much air time.

It’s been a highly frustrating process, I can tell you. I’ve felt a bit like I’ve been banging my head against the wall. Some days feeling good, some days feeling very grumpy. Some days the gym helped and some days it didn’t. I removed every exercise that seemed to aggravate it but still it wasn’t improving.

Long weeks of no running

So it was time for a second opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I really rate the physio I’ve been using and he’s helped me during many niggles in the past, but after seeing him three times and it doing nothing, I needed to do something else. Time is of the essence.

Handily someone at work recommended someone to me. A sports therapist who comes to your house – VERY appealing. (If you’re in the South Coast area –> Claire Bennett). She was able to come Friday evening after I got back from work which was perfect.

I explained my issues to her, she examined the way I stood and moved etc. and then told me that my pelvis was misaligned. I was twisted in the way I was standing. This was putting pressure on my hamstring – keeping it stretched – and causing my glutes to pick up the slack and overworking them. All the discomfort and feeling like I’m restricted makes a lot of sense now.

She worked her magic and, I kid you not, I felt better literally straight away. Not perfect or fully healed 100% but SO much better. The analogy I use is that it’s like I’ve been scuffing my toe for ages because it’s been moving wrong. After fixing it to move right, the toe is no longer being scuffed… but the toe is still battered from all the scuffing and needs a bit of time to recover and get back to being a normal toes (does this make sense??).

She even said I could do parkrun the next day – which I was so excited about! I cannot tell you how happy I felt after seeing her. She literally made my day. EIGHT LONG WEEKS of this.

So the next day Kyle and I headed to Southsea parkrun. I wasn’t going to blitz it and if it hurt or felt really off I’d stop. But it already felt so much better so I was feeling confident. The physio did warn that I would ache a bit and it wouldn’t feel perfect so I had to remember that.

Kyle was going to run with me and keep me at a sensible pace. After a bit of a delay due to some delivery lorries being in the way of the course, we began.

Yes it didn’t feel perfect, yes it still niggled a little, but my range of movement was so much better and it felt like it was better. It did feel achy and the run was tough going – fitness and the pounding on my legs. It reminded me how quickly you lose everything. Anyway it’s too early to tell for certain and I’m sure it’ll take time, but I’m feeling positive.

We did just over 26 minutes and I finished smiling. Kyle found it super easy of course and revelled in being the fitter and faster one of us (when we’re both at our fittest though there really isn’t much difference to be fair).

Then we celebrated by getting brunch at the Parade Tearooms. Brunch for me being the Jayne Salad. IT IS THE BEST SALAD IN THE WORLD.

It is ginormous. Roasted new bpotatoes, bacon, cheese, coleslaw, cucumber, tomatoes, salad leaves, strabwerries, sweetcorn, onion, beetroot and I added chicken… It’s wonderful.

Anyway, fingers crossed my hamstring keep improving and I’m able to actually begin training.

What’s your favourite thing in a salad?

How long has been your longest time off of running? I think mine was 11 weeks.

30+1 and other great things

What’s been happening around here lately… asides from my vegan adventures.

Let’s get over the negatives quickly… I haven’t been running. I only have myself to blame really as I pushed it at the Romsey Beer Race when realistically I should have sat it out.

My hamstring was just on the mend and then ehhh I pushed and it became worse. I’ve been seeing my physio (if you’re in need around the Portsmouth area he’s great) and it’s been helping.

It’s a tough one really as it’s the upper part of my hamstring (“high hamstring”) and this area notoriously doesn’t get much blood flow. Then coupled with sitting making things worse (hey day job..), means that healing is slow.

It’s hard to know how to help the situation. Obviously I’m not running. But I’m a big believer in strength training to help and doing strength work does improve blood flow to the area. It’s just finding that balance of pushing and protecting the hamstring. Gentle single leg glute bridges and being conscious of the muscle (i.e. making sure it’s the hamstring working and not my back or glute taking over). So that’s that right now.

But on to more positive things.

Podcasts

Oh my god, if you have not tried Sh**ged Married and Annoyed podcast from Chris and Rosie Ramsey you NEED to. It is so funny. Laugh out loud while walking Alfie kind of funny. I love their Geordie accents, how relatable they are and their humour. It’s my new favourite and I’m trying not to binge listen to them because I like having lots ready to go.

Birthday

Ahh another year has passed. It has FLOWN by. And a lot has happened in that time. I’ve been and done a number of cool things, eaten A LOT of cake and chicken wings (40 is my new PB), ran a lot (5 marathons!), got myself a cheeky 10k PB (who’d have thought eh!), and spent a lot of time with a guy who’s become somewhat important in my life…

So yeah while I might be older, I’m definitely not wiser but happier, and that’s something eh!

Birthday Cake

Kyle’s lovely sister, Lucy, is AMAZING at baking and for my birthday she made the most amazing cake.

It’s INCREDIBLE. She kept the design a secret from me and when I saw it I just could not believe the detail! So chuffed.

It’s a fruit cake which is cool and means it’ll last for a bit (ha..well we’ll see).

As it was Lucy’s birthday the day before mine we shared celebrating it at Kyle’s house with his family and had the most awesome spread of food. Chicken wings, ribs, spring rolls, crisps, chocolate, token salad.

It was fantastic and such a fab way for me to re-enter into the world of eating meat again.

I will say though that ordinarily I’ll be reducing my consumption of animal products but it was a celebration so I did eat quite a lot it must be said!

Presents

I got so many lovely gifts for my birthday, I was very (god I hate this word so much) blessed.

My lovely friend Louise even made me an amazing sign. She’s just started a new business of handmade crafted items (carvings in glass and wood) and her gift to me was just perfect.

Check out her Facebook page here if you’re interested.

Merchant House

On Thursday night my work team and I went out for a meal and drinks at The Merchant House in Southsea.

I’ve seen so many good things on their Instagram and it didn’t disappoint!

I went for the pork belly burger (with maple bacon and cheese) with burnt end loaded fries and deep fried vegan cauliflower bites.

Their vegan menu actually looked really good! I was tempted to try their seitan burger but in the end was too tempted by pork belly. It just means I need to go back!

It was a really fun evening. I really like the people I work with, the food was fantastic and I love Southsea. It feels like a mini Brighton πŸ™‚

So despite not running, there’s still a lot of good stuff happening round here!

What kind of burger is your favourite?

What’s your favourite food at a buffet?

Do you go out with your work colleagues?

Week one of being a vegan

I went into my vegan challenge feeling quite smug and happy. I’d meal prepped like a boss. I had replacement snacks. I was good to go. 

As someone who is very routine-based with the meals I eat during the week (same breakfast, same lunch, similar snacks) I just had to replace them with vegan alternatives. I had my meal pan for the week and felt confident.

Breakfast was easy. I just swapped my whey protein powder in my porridge with a vegan version. I used almond milk already so that was fine.

The Form vegan protein I tried initially (chocolate salted caramel flavour) was delicious and gave a good consistency to my porridge (super stodgy, which I love) but I didn’t feel great afterwards. I felt a little sick and like it was a rock in my tummy.

The MyProtein Vegan protein powder however sat far better in my stomach. Sadly the taste was far inferior (I had the chocolate flavour). For feeling better afterwards though, I’ll stick with the MyProtein.

For lunches at work I’d meal prepped a roasted beetroot, butternut squash salad with an olive oil based dressing (getting my calories wherever I can!) for two days and a lentil chickpea curry for three days. The beetroot meal was delicious, filling and left me feeling good.

The curry was a different story. While very tasty and filling, it left me feeling extremely bloated and very, well, windy. I probably further compounded this issue by then having a vegan salad on the same day when Kyle and I went to the cinema. As it’s only around 220 calories I decided to throw in a load of chickpeas to bulk it out and up the protein.

This meant that on Wednesday I felt dreadful. I don’t mean to go too much TMI here but I was literally needing to fart ALL THE TIME. This is awkward when you work among people in an office. I kept having to go to the loo or just hold them in which just made me feel even worse. I looked pregnant as well how much my stomach was bloating.

For Wednesday dinner Kyle and I went to a pizza place called Popsi’s in Southampton before we saw the Bodyguard music show and I was able to have something non-bean related.

I had a mushroom fake cheese bread starter, followed by a pizza with fake pepperoni, chicken and cheese on it and then churro nuggets with a hazelnut chocolate sauce (all vegan of course).It was quite nice (to be honest, at this point I was happy with anything that wasn’t a salad or a chickpea) but it tasted very “samey”.

Like the meat was all very tasteless and the cheese wasn’t cheesy at all. I enjoyed it don’t get me wrong, but it definitely was more of a “better than nothing” rather than a “better than the real thing” kind of meal.

The churros though were GOOD. Blobs of sugary chocolaty goodness.
Sick of feeling bloated, the next day needed a change. I had my lentil curry lunch planned but I couldn’t face it so popped it into the freezer.

My dad gave me an onion soup he had in the fridge and I made a little salad to go with it (#health). I felt SO much better. It wasn’t the best lunch in the world and it contained minimal protein but I enjoyed it and it caused ZERO bloating issues.

I caved by Friday and bought a fake meat substitute to throw in a salad. A kebab style meat thing from Vivera. Their range looks really good and it was really nice. I’d go as far to say that I’d eat this after my vegan challenge. It’s quite expensive though (Β£3 for a pack and I ate it in one…).

Unfortunately I didn’t read that you had to cook it before eating!! But it tasted fine and I had no ill effects… it’s entirely plant-based so?

Dinner-wise, well I’ve been out twice so that’s helped. Monday night I didn’t fancy what I had planned so ended up with soup with added chickpeas (the start of the chickpea saga…).

Thursday night I had a tofu based meal. I threw in lots of veg and peanut butter to make a sauce and bulk it out a bit and it worked well. But the tofu was a bit bland and sad. I need to work on this as I know I can make it better.

The weekend is where it got tricky. I’m used to having exciting and fun meals… I’ll usually have an Indian takeaway (I love tandoori chicken on the bone) and I’ll probably go out for a meal or two.

Well we still went out for food on Saturday but I just made sure it was vegan-friendly. This did mean we were limited on where we could go and when we turned up and it was absolutely rammed we had to wait for about 20 minutes for a table instead of just going somewhere else like we would normally have done.

The restaurant was the Southsea Village which, after eventually getting a table, was really nice. I went for BBQ pulled jack fruit burger and BBQ pulled jack fruit loaded fries, having been told jack fruit was amazing.

And it was! It was so tasty and had a meaty texture. It was lovely. But because it was essentially the same thing for both it quickly became very samey. I should have chosen a different burger (there were a few vegan options) but I wanted to avoid anything bean-related.

A big upset was getting a cafe we know and love and finding out that the vegan cakes had sold out. Kyle was lovely and offered to not get anything but I told him one of us had to enjoy a slice of cake at least!

Honestly this was the hardest part of the week, watching him eat a slice of cake I could have happily destroyed. I did have a very silly moment of wanting to cry when I saw how good it looked but I quickly pulled myself together. It’s just two weeks, Anna!

Anyway, on to week 2. I’m still going strong, though I have to say it’s a lot harder than I thought.

Have you ever gone vegan?

What’s your go-to easy meal?

Have you ever tried a vegan cake?