Festive recap and (gasp) a run!

Hello all

(Some of my gifts lucky me- some super warm slippers, a cute lunch pot and flask, and some clinique perfume)

I hope you all had a fab day yesterday, and are having a relaxing boxing day (although, not sure if it is boxing day as it is a Sunday?).

Anyway, here is a quick recap of yesterday first of all.

We got up nice and late, had breakfast (pumpkin porridge for me) and then opened some presents. Andy was feeling bad as my present was a surprise trip to Discovery Cove, and we were supposed to be there on Monday, but he had to tell me at the airport, and we have postponed it until the summer. So I had nothing to open from him, and I don’t think he believed me when I said I didn’t mind. The gift from him is amazing and I have months of looking forward to it 🙂

(Some of my running gifts- tops, loads of gels and bars to try, Born to Run and RUN LESS RUN FASTER )

We had a walk (it was so cold out there I think my eyeballs froze), I had some clementines, and then we headed to his parents house for the afternoon and evening. We had a lovely dinner -I provided a pumpkin and goats cheese canneloni for my meal, as Andy’s mum has enough cooking to do. I piled up the carrots too (but I declined the sprouts- I am not a fan!). I also had some yummy christmas pudding with a little bit of ice cream. Later in the afternoon we opened our presents together, played some games, watched Strictly, played more games, and had a cheese and picalilli sandwich and some cake. The best game was a rather competative game of Articulate . It was a great day- I love the fact that no-one is in a hurry, we spend ages playing silly games and it is totally relaxing. Eating wise, I had not enough fruit and veg, and too much cake, but in the grand scheme of things it is one day.

(Some baking related pressies including a cupcake stand, some teapigs tea and The Great British Book of Baking – I have seen so many fab looking recipes in there!)

Andy was also given a Marmite cook book and the weirdest thing of all- Marmite chocolate. He loves marmite and spreads it really thickly, and his Mum got it as she had given his other brothers other chocolate that they liked- I think it was a “I saw this and thought of you in an instant!” kind of gift. Now, I do like marmite, but I don’t love it. And I feel very suspicious of it. Anyone tried it?

Now, onto today. Andy was off to watch a football match (which I have just heard has been called off after he made the journey there) and I went on a run! Hooray! I have not run since the wednesday before last, and it was such a great run! I had to be so careful getting to the clear pavement, as every day the pavement by my house gets even more slippery. But once I was there, it was fab! There was a mile stretch, so I went out and back 3 times (for 6 miles) and I amazed myself by being totally steady- every time I turned another 10 minutes had gone. My legs were like a metronome!  I passed the same family 6 times as they were walking on the same stretch of pavement! Once home I had what I like to call the cold weather glow!

(My cheeks looked pinker in real life than they do in the pic!)

Once shower and clif bar later and I felt a little warmer, and a slightly more normal colour!

(How do other bloggers take such good pics of themselves? I just can’t do it!! At least my head was actually in this pic- a few of them ended up being of the wall!)

And now it is time for some baking- my poor oven must be wondering what is going on haha!

So, did you all have a lovely christmas? What is your fave christmas family game?  And did you manage some exercise over the last few days?

Let the festivities begin!


First things first- I went to body pump last night and it was the new release (I have no idea if we are before or after- we had Lady Gaga for the squats if that helps)- boy it was hard work! We were told to go down in weights for the biceps, and by the end of the shoulders track my arms were shaking so much. They carried on shaking even through the cool-down! I always find it hard after a week away (last week I missd it due to rearranging my hair cut), and a new one also makes it harder.  But I am so sore today! And it is not on next week, so I will be even worse come January! Oh well.

After that I treated myself to a slice of my home-made Christmas cake (from Rachel Allens Bake );

I love christmas cake 🙂

Today I went on a walk this morning and I am so excited- I found some pavements that have been cleared!! There is a stretch of a mile, and the first bit of the pavement is only clear in a really thin part, but a lot of it was totally clear. Although getting from my house to the clear pavement is getting worse as the snow is compacted, thaws slightly then freezes smooth overnight. So that is my boxing day morning run sorted 🙂 I think the week off running will have done me good- given my legs a bit of a break before marathon training starts in earnest in the new year.

I am getting in the festive spirit now by watching The Snowman . My absolute favourite christmas film ever. I can feel my blood pressure lowering as the music starts. Love it!

I am also wrapping the last of Andy’s presents (by this I mean the ones he has bought for other people, as I like to wrap. The ones from me to him were wrapped ages ago!), and going to watch the Muppets Christmas Carol later.

I want to thank everyone for their wishes, and wish everyone a merry christmas, happy holidays and so on 🙂

Enjoy the celebrating, enjoy spending time with famillies and friends, and enjoy relaxing 🙂

Snow-lar bear

Guess what I did today!

Yes, the snow was calling to me! I went into my garden and it was so pretty, with only bird foot prints in the snow. So I decided to have a bit of fun 🙂 He is looking up at my window so I can see him from my house! It was so cold out there, luckily my breakfast was keeping me warm;

One packet of plain porridge, 40g pumpkin (left over from pasta), 5g cranberries and some mixed spice. It was delish- the perfect amount of pumpkin 😉

I rang the gym this morning and according to them, body pump class was on (they often shut down over christmas but I didn’t take a leaflet as I wasn’t supposed to be here). SO I will be off to that later on, it is the new one so I am hoping I like the music. I was feeling very productive again today, and cleared out my kitchen cupboards. Do you know I have 12 cans of pumpkin? Yes, 12. I kept adding one each week to the online shopping. Hmm. I also found some chickpea flour and I have no idea what I planned to do with it. Any ideas?

For fresh air, (as well as snowlar bear) I walked up to the post office and boy I was freezing when I got home!

I also packaged up some home-made christmas fudge.

Here is the recipe if you fancy a go (adapted from Rachel Allens Home Cooking recipe);

The trick is to get it all ready, so- line a brownie pan with baking paper. Get your electric whisk out of the cupboard, attack the whisks and check it works! Assemble add-in ingredients (for me, 50g cranberries, 50g pistachios and 50g chopped white chocolate for those christmas colours). Also get a side plate to put the hot stuff on.

In a big pan, put 100g butter, 450g soft light brown sugar (or caster sugar) and 1 tin condensed milk. Put the sugar thermometer in there so it heats up slowly. Stir until it all melts, then keep the heat low and keep it bubbling (for about 7 minutes) until it reaches the soft ball stage on the sugar thermometer. (Or fiddle about with a saucer from the freezer or some water or something.).

Once it reaches that temp, remove the thermometer and spoon, (place on side plate) and beat with the mixer. It will take a while, 5- 10 minutes, until it is not runny, but thicker and harder to mix. The beaters should leave a thick trail in the mix.

Then, quickly pour half into the tin, sprinkle on the add-ins, and then cover with the rest of the mixture. It will start to harden quickly, but I find that pushing it down firmly with a non stick spatula works well. It will not set for a while, but the quicker you work, the smoother the final fudge will look. Leave to cool for a bit (lick excess fudge from beaters before washing up) and then place in the fridge. I find that you need to take it out of the fridge for a bit before you slice it. Then cut it into pieces, put into bags or tubs or whatever. It keeps fine at room temp or in the fridge. Enjoy 🙂

I keep reading that Emma keeps getting bargains from Sweatshop with codes from Womens Running mag. Well, I subscribe to the mag but never noticed the codes- luckily I looked as there is a code for 10% off, plus free postage, which expires tomorrow. I looked and they have my fave running trainers for £60 (the other day they were £80) and so I have ordered some yay 🙂

Although I am not sure if it is torturing myself by ordering shoes when I can’t go running? Hurry up and melt snow!

Festive plans


I managed to get out for some more fresh air today- walked up to the shops in the other direction (saw a dead rat frozen in the snow which was pretty gross!)- it was icy in places, slushy in places, deep snow in places, and no clear paths at all. Shame as I was hoping that I might find a route for a run. No such luck. I also did level 2 shred (I did the cardio gently as my calves are still stiff)- actually it helped to loosen the muscles.

This afternoon I had such a christmassy snack- 2 clementines, 2 gingerbread cookies (I had some left over dough from the mini house) and some christmas tea. Love it!

Here is the tray of cookies- I decorated then with a few squares of dark chocolate which I melted, and then assorted sprinkles from one of those decirating tub things- we will be giving some of these away too;

I also did some more cooking, this time it was savoury stuff! I made some yummy pumpkin pasta. I could not remember the recipe that I did before, so I sort of made it up. Anyway, it was 1 pack of silken tofu whizzed up with around 300g canned pumpkin and 5 sundried tomatoes. I then stirred in 150g cooked wholewheat pasta and 150g cooked spinach. This made 3 portions (I put them in those silver foil tubs)- one for tonight and 2 for the freezer. Not bad 🙂 Once I am back at work I love having meals in the freezer that can defrost during the day and be cooked quickly while I am in the shower in the evening.

I have been reading on lots of blogs about how people tend to manage being healthy over christmas. Generally I don’t find it too hard, but I think as I am vegetarian I miss a lot of the typical massive meals (plus the sides like those pigs in blankets etc), plus I don’t like roast potatoes, stuffing, gravy or sauces, can live without yorkshires etc. As a family we have never had starters, whereas I know some people would have a 3 course meal at lunch for christmas. Plus I don’t drink alchohol- water and tea are the best liquids for me! I don’t ever tend to have different breakfasts- porridge is where it is at for me!  Lunches will stay fairly similar to normal. I have nice festive snacks like clementines and a few nuts. I also try to keep up with the exercise. I know myself that if I don’t exercise I start to feel lethargic and a bit bleurgh, so I make sure it is in my plan to get something done each day. 

The main issue I have is that I get given loads of chocolates from work (the children are always so sweet and like to help me open their gifts, and this year I think I was given 13 boxes of chocolates (including 2 mammoth trays of MIlk Tray)- I always manage to give lots away, and have left some at school for the staffroom, but I keep a couple, and if I open a box it is easy to have a couple here and there. They add up pretty quick! I use WLR so I make sure I log my meals each day, log my exercise (once done- I am a bit supersticious about logging it before I actually do it) and then seeing what I have left for snacks.

If I know that I have enough calories for a slice of christmas cake in the evening, then I look forward to that during the day. I won’t beat myself up if I go over my calories on a few days, but I know myself that I will start to feel rubbish, so it is in my interest to keep as healthy as possible. Gosh I have written a lot!

So, to conclude- during the festive period I try to;

  • Get some fresh air each day
  • Get some exercise each day
  • Eat lots of portions of fruit and veg each day
  • Allow for a “treat” each day (so keep the diet balanced, not totally restrictive and not all out unhealthy)
  • Drink lots of water
  • Keep and eye on calories in and calories out

Enjoy the festive season 🙂

Gingerbread house number 2

Hey! So you all know that running and baking are my fave hobbies. I went on a walk up to the shops today (for some fresh air and also to see if I could find a patch of clear or safe pavements for a run). It was lovely, I spent about 90 mins wading through snow there and back. Unfortunately I did not find any clear pavement at all, so tomorrow will be a DVD at home again. (Reminder to myself- I much stretch more after that dvd as my calves are killing me today!).

I did pick up a bargain in the shops- I love Whitards Christmas tea, and they had a tub for sale (normally £8) for only £3, because of a little dent in the tin. So after lunch it was time for Christmas tea – my old tin (on the right) has only enough for a few teapots left. (Can you see the little dent? It’s tiny!). I also got a bargain long sleeved cardi in Gap for £11.

After that,  in order to occupy myself I decided to make a mini gingerbread house.

I put the cards there so you can see how little it is 🙂

This time I made up my own template and was pleased that the roof actually fits! Hooray I can still do maths!

I decorated it on the coffee table in front of Marley and Me- we decided to treat ourselves to the movies on Sky over Christmas as we will have plenty of time to watch them- such a sweet film.

I also made some roasted spiced nuts- this time along with the egg white I mixed in some brown sugar, maple syrup, mixed spice, cinnamon and cloves, before toasting in the oven for around 20 minutes. I put them in a jar and we will take them round to Andy’s parents on Christmas day- I love giving edible gifts.

Also we have been planning our replacement holiday- we got flights to Miami and back from Atlanta, so we can hire a car and visit all the places (and a few more) that we planned to see this Christmas. So although it is months and months away it is good knowing that we will get there in the end.