More leggings, a cheeky Nando’s and the cinema

Last weekend went from, on the Friday, having no plans to then being busy both days. My mum asked if I wanted to join her to go to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth for a little mooch. It’s always nice to go to Gunwharf around Christmas as their decorations are pretty and it always feels very festive.

Plus, they have an Adidas and a Nike factory shop which always deserves a little wander around. I hadn’t planned on buying anything. I’m quite up to date on my Christmas shopping, which is super organised for me, and I’m trying really hard to not spend unnecessary money as I have two rather large holidays coming up.

I popped to the gym in the morning, of which I was quite happy to do as it was chucking it down and parkrun didn’t sound appealing at all. I’m currently not running due to a shin niggle (same one as I always seem to get) and my physio advised taking a couple of weeks off to let it calm down. I’m actually feeling alright about this as I’m loving the gym at the moment and can really focus on my strength gains.

Though I am wary that marathon training should begin soon so I’ve been incorporating 3-4 elliptical sessions into my week to make sure it’s not a complete shock to the system when I do get running again in terms of my cardiovascular fitness. It’s quite easy to get these sessions in as I can do them in an evening after work in my work’s gym rather than take away any time from my strength training. But on Saturday I had the morning free to do both the elliptical and strength training which I really enjoyed (weird I know).

Anyway after than long meandering diversion… my mum and me went shopping. I ended up in the Nike changing room trying on a pair of leggings (the Epic Lux) I didn’t need and then boom! I’d bought them. It was like I blacked out for a second. I don’t know how it happened but it did…

Basically they are some of the nicest leggings I’ve ever worn. The material, the fit, the colour. So nice.img_6463I have zero regrets as they’re perfect. They survived the squat test, the lunge test and the “how does my bum look in these?” test – all that were confirmed my mum 😉 It was a lovely shopping trip with my mum, though the weather was rather grim.

For Sunday, again I didn’t have plans initially until I heard a review of Arrival on the radio and having seen the trailer I was really keen to go and see it.

I don’t often go to the cinema as I find it quite expensive and a bit of a faff. I’d rather watch a film at home in PJ’s with my own snacks, not the overpriced and ridiculously unhealthy snacks at the cinema (though let’s be honest, there is always a place for those occasionally!). But the film looked really good and it looked like it warranted to be seen on the big screen.

I thought it might be a film my dad would enjoy and wafted the idea past him, mentioning maybe a cheeky Nando’s beforehand? Though he’s still losing weight and is doing very well, a Nando’s can easily be accommodated as it’s basically just chicken. Don’t have the chips and have a different side, like the rice, sweet potatoes or the roasted vegetables, and it’s a perfectly reasonable meal. The invitation was of course open to my mum as well but she’s not a big sci-fi or Nando’s fan so…

Sadly though my dad was ill (you know he’s ill when he turns down a trip to the cinema with food). I was quite happy to go on my own because #independentwoman 😉 but I think my mum was distraught at the idea of me going alone. I swear my mother has visions of me dying alone and sad. If I ever bring up the mere mention of a male she leaps on the potential prospect, even if I don’t actually fancy them (“you could grow to like them”), they have a partner (“but not married, Anna”) or they’re a lot older than me (“age is but a number”) *sighs*. So the mere thought of me going to the cinema alone caused enough distress for her to join me – even if meant enduring Nando’s and a film she was less than lukewarm about. Mothers, eh!

That said, it was far nicer to go with my mum than on my own. Once again I went to the gym in the morning. I tend to do the gym fasted because I like to get up and go rather than get up, eat breakfast and wait a while then go (exactly like my running). By the time I met my mum though it was almost 1pm and I was HANGRY. Luckily we were seated straight away at Nando’s and I very much enjoyed my usual Nando’s meal (whole chicken with side salad).img_6478My mum had the Mediterranean salad with chicken and added avocado and halloumi.img_6479She said it was very tasty – I was actually quite surprised at how nice it looked. Nando’s isn’t exactly Michelin Star. It’s more close to fast food!

I felt very satisfied after the meal and in a very happy place. It was, as always, delicious. We then went to see the film with two large Diet Cokes (though Nando’s is very tasty, it is quite salty and I’m always very thirsty afterwards!) and I brought two very special snacks to enjoy as well.img_6481I did make sure to eat them during the trailers though as I realise they are not very cinema-friendly snacks (a lot of crunching!).

The film was brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was actually quite sad but very thought-provoking and definitely warrants another watch. Amy Adams is fantastic in it. A great way to end a really fun weekend – quality mum and daughter time 🙂

Do you spend a lot of time with your mum?

What have you seen in the cinema lately?

Do you workout fasted? I will in the morning just because it’s easier I like a big refuel afterwards.

Birthday weekend–part 1

And just like that I’m another year older… I turned 28 yesterday. I’d like to think that I’m wiser and have it all figured out but I absolutely don’t. But I’m happy and enjoying life so I’ll take that!

For the Saturday I had a few of my university friends down. Kate and Jamie (I went on holiday last year with them to Orlando) came down earlier so they could join me at parkrun. Now this is a BIG DEAL. This is the couple who laughed at me for going to parkrun when we were on holiday together. They were the least likely out of all my non-running friends to want to do parkrun. But, major kudos to them, they’ve started running and eating better in order to lose a bit of weight and get a bit more healthy. Jamie has lost FIVE STONE and Kate has lost (I think) over two stone. They’ve both also been doing the Couch to 5K programme and Kate had timed it perfectly as to use parkrun for my birthday weekend as her target.

They got to mine just before 8am and we headed down to Lee-On-Solent parkrun. Ordinarily I do Netley but Kate wanted a nice flat course and my dad was going to do Lee as well as my friend, Mat, who was down from Cheltenham for the week so it made sense.

IMG_2215Kate, Jamie, me and Mat

It was a beautifully sunny day. I was a bit worried about my hamstring but I’d done a quick tester run when I walked Alfie in the morning and it held up OK. Not perfect but alright.

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I’d planned to take the run nice and slowly and stop if at any point it became bad.

IMG_2216My dad rocking the England shirt

It was quite amusing to see Jamie and Kate’s reaction to parkrun. They tend to run very early in the morning and never with other people. They genuinely thought they’d be about 12 people at parkrun. Jamie said he was shocked that one minute there were a couple of people and then the next there were hundreds. They were literally taken aback by the amount of lycra and colour about.

The start was a little bit hectic I must admit. There was over 300 people and we were all bunched together. It involved a lot of negotiating around people and trying not to trip over anyone else or be tripped up. But eventually it evened out and there was enough space.

I found a nice easy rhythm. I wasn’t pushing it or feeling out of breath and the hamstring felt OK. I was surprised to see I was running around 8 minute miles.

FullSizeRenderPhoto credit: Eileen Bartlett

Lee’s a good course as you can see runners ahead and behind so I could cheer people on and spot people I knew.

IMG_2254Photo credit: Eileen Bartlett

I’d say the hamstring felt 80% OK. It niggled slightly towards the end but there was no pain, just felt uncomfortable. It just annoys me though as it doesn’t make for a great run as I’m constantly thinking about it and not wanting to push myself to go fast because I don’t want to annoy it. But least it was better than it has been! I finished in 24:15 which felt nice and comfortable.

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Mat had already finished in a great time of 20:50 so we walked together to walk my dad in. He was power walking the course and desperate to beat his last time of 51:12. He was finding it tough but the tail runner was apparently really good at keeping him going.

IMG_2261Photo credit: Eileen Bartlett

Towards the end, he picked up speed, overtook another guy and sprinted to the finish. Everyone cheered him in and it was lovely.

IMG_2256Photo credit: Eileen Bartlett

And he completed it in 50:16 so almost a minute off his time! He was made up Smile Kate squeaked under her goal of sub-35 by getting 34:57 and Jamie got 33:58. The absolute best part was hearing how much they loved it. Kate and Jamie are now full-on parkrun converts. On the way home they were already planning their next one (depressingly their local one was Little Stoke so now their nearest one is about 20 minutes away). Jamie was already commenting how he felt he could run further when he finished as well. YES!!! Converting my non-running friends one person at a time Winking smile

We got back to mine, showered and then my friend Shell and her fiancé, Rob, showed up to join the fun. Again, hearing them tell Rob and Shell how good parkrun was just made my day. A year ago there was nothing I could say that would persuade them that running could be enjoyable. People have to find out for themselves.

I had booked my latest favourite restaurant for lunch and we were all pretty excited. After catching up and walking Alfie and Kate’s pug, Doug, we headed to Sadlers in Southampton.

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As I’ve mentioned before, Sadlers is THE restaurant for meat (though they also have a strong vegetarian section of the menu too). The last time I went was INCREDIBLE. My friends love BBQ food too so it made sense to go here. I decided to go for the ribs rather than the platter this time as, though the platter is amazing, I was really craving ribs. And they did not disappoint.

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HUGE chunks of meaty ribs on top of chips, salad, coleslaw and cornbread. I didn’t even touch the chips. There was just too much meat (which, by the way, is not an issue).

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So tasty. Shell and Rob also went with the ribs and Jamie and Kate shared the platter.

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Ridiculously (and foolishly) Shell, Rob and I ordered sides as well. Shell and Rob went for some pulled pork and I went for some chicken wings and we ordered the bourbon BBQ sauce to go alongside. (Greed took over sanity here as you can probably tell…).

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Yeah I didn’t even touch those wings. There was just far too much going on my plate. And, amazingly for me, I couldn’t finish the ribs. I was beaten! Everyone was. Happily Kate and Jamie said I could take their leftovers home so I took a swan of shame back with me.

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Needless to say my freezer is now joyfully stocked with some smoked turkey, gammon, wings, hot link sausages and pulled pork. Happy days!

As we sat there afterwards chatting and basically recovering from the meal, the waitress appeared with a cake with lit candles and they all started singing happy birthday to me. It was such a surprise and so lovely!

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To be honest, I think the last thing we all wanted was a slice of chocolate cake. But you gotta take one for the team right?? Winking smile

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The chocolate cupcakes on top were filled with delicious buttercream. We were literally DONE after having a slice.

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We spent a long time at my flat just laying around chatting and digesting. We probably could have napped! It was such a great day. And to top it off they got me some super cool Superdry workout gear.

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Because what else would you buy me?? So, an absolutely perfect Saturday.

What is your perfect way to spend your birthday?

Have you converted any non-runners to runners?

What’s your perfect birthday gift?

Rants and Raves #24

Hello Wednesday! And time for some of my ranting and raving…

Rave: I finally got Alfie into his long awaited Halloween costume. I had to cut the sides to make it a bit more roomy for him but it fits quite nicely.Halloween dog fancy dress

Alfie’s personality is that he’s kind of a push over. He doesn’t do much growling or get ‘angry’, rather he’ll just stand there and look daggers at you. That’s what happens when I bath him or try and put silly bright orange t-shirts on him. He’s also a huge wuss. When it comes to cats, he’ll be ready to chase them if they run but if they stand there and just look at him he doesn’t know what to do so cowers away. My little hero…

I did take the t-shirt off after getting  a photo of him though (which took so frigging long as he just wanted to race about the place).

In other Alfie news… when I have to pop to our local shop quickly I’ll tend to walk there and take Alfie with me and tie him outside. He tries to keep me in view in the entire time and has such a look of despair on his face it’s quite unbearable.
Dog outside shop

It’s almost like he’s saying “Are you coming back…?”. Bless him.

Rant: Sometimes I wonder how I can ever get through a day on my own. I believe I’m an intelligent person (I went to university and got a first class honours degree from the very respectable Cardiff university in Psychology for what that’s worth!) but common sense? Severely lacking.

The Iceland passport debacle for example. Who puts their passport in the washing machine??

Anyway, so I was working from home last week and, as I mentioned in a previous post, I have no furniture so need to use the kitchen counter for my laptop. When I decided to break for lunch I just pushed the laptop to one side and went on my merry way frying up some bits and pieces on the hob.

Instead of the yummy smells of food cooking there was a horrible acrid smell. Thankfully I quickly realised that my iPhone cable was directly in the flame of the hob and whipped it away while turning it off at the plug. Jesus.iPhone cable burn

Luckily it didn’t cause any crazy electrical fire… but it didn’t work afterwards (yes I did try it, see above about common sense).

Rave: Getting a lovely new lot of coconut oil.Coconut Oil

I use coconut oil for all my frying and roasting purposes. The only annoyance is having to melt the coconut oil before I can coat vegetables/potatoes in it. But it’s a small price to pay for this delicious and nutritious source of fat.

Though I have to say, nothing quite beats onion slowly and gently fried in a load of butter. Literally heaven.

Butter

Don’t fear butter! Yes it’s high in calories and fat but when had in moderation it can easily fit in a healthy diet. A tasty healthy diet at that. And when I say ‘diet’ I really mean lifestyle, not the ugly connotations so prevalent in women’s magazines.

Rant: I currently have three running tops that I desperately want to wear but haven’t been able to… yet. One of those is my parkrun 50 top.parkrun 50 top

It’s so soft and lovely and fits perfectly. But I received it after I got injured so haven’t been able to properly wear it yet.

The same goes for the Marathon Talk t-shirt I ordered.

Marathon Talk tshirt

In ‘classic black’ of course 😉 and I received a free Marathon Talk buff as there was a delay. Again, it fits lovely! Made by Xempo.

And, obviously, my Bournemouth marathon finisher’s t-shirt has been left unworn in my running drawer as well. Now I feel like this week is the week that I can get back to running (PLEASE!). I thought I’d wear all three t-shirts to parkrun and on each lap whip one off to get the maximum effect 😉

Rant: When I was at the gym on the busy Saturday I was just minding my own business doing my squats and there were two men near to me using a bench to do dumbbell presses, taking turns while the other rested. When one of them finished his reps he just threw down his dumbbells (very heavy dumbbells, over 20kg/44lbs each!). They bounced away from him towards me – like literally almost hitting my legs.

I understand people want to do a tough workout and want to be near failure on reps but throwing dumbbells down in exhaustion is dangerous in a busy gym! What an idiot. I glared at him after he did it multiple times but I was too intimidated to say anything. I really should have though. To me that shows a lack of control rather than good weight lifting.

Rave: This is a rave for me and a rant for my bank account. I mentioned in my last R&R post (oooh it has an acronym!) that I’ve been buying lots of gymwear… well here are a few more of my items.Gym outfit

The ridiculous bright yellow shorts are from Nike Pro (from Zalando – in fact, I bought those and a pair of bright pink ones too for £25 in total which I thought was a steal as Nike is always such good quality). Top left is another muscle tee from Forever 21. These are perfect for weight lifting in the gym but not for cardio or running because they’re not technical material. But I love the freedom of muscle tees as the sides gape. The funky leggings are from Boohoo and, again, they’re not technical material but they’re perfect for upper body days. And they were so cheap. I bought a few items from Boohoo as they had a good deal on shipping for next day delivery – £1.99!

MASSIVE RAVE (or potentially MASSIVE RANT): So tonight is the night. I’m going to test out running (3 miles, nothing crazy). I haven’t done a single run since Bournemouth. My leg feels absolutely fine walking and taking stairs so I’m really hopeful. Obviously if anything does hurt I’ll stop but I’m really really praying it’ll be fine. I’m seeing my physio tomorrow so I figured this was the ideal time to test it out. Originally I was going to use parkrun as my tester but realistically I need to run on my own without any external factors… just the road and me. I don’t want to be tempted to push through anything or be embarrassed if I have to stop. Plus my dad and me are driving in together so if the run fails I can emotionally collapse onto him on the way home (what fun for him). FINGERS CROSSED!!!!!

Do you have a lot of common sense?

What kind of oils and fats do you use? I’ve heard gee is supposed to be really good but I’ve never tried it in my own cooking… I keep seeing it in Tesco and I’m very tempted.

Have other gym goers annoyed you recently?

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?