Afternoon teas (running and scones)

Hey peeps- hope you are all doing well.

This week I have mainly been running and eating scones- not a bad combination if you ask me (as long as it is in that order).

On Monday morning I went out for a quick 3 miles before getting ready and heading into London. I was meeting a couple of friends for afternoon tea (at lunch time, as you do)- before we met I had time for a trip to Wholefoods.

I actually only wanted to get some pesto (we ran out of our Brighton stash and have been having some pesto we picked up at Bill’s, but it is not as good)-anyway I think I didn’t end up with too many impulse purchases- some peanut popcorn, chocolate pumpkin seeds, chocolate pb, lovely coconut bounce balls, a raw brownie and a couple of Seed & Bean mini chocolate bars.

Luckily I was getting a tube when there was a torrential downpour, and when I came out it was sunny, so I walked through to Covent Garden instead of going back to the underground.

We had a lovely time catching up (and the afternoon tea was pretty good too- they gave me a plate of veggie sandwiches, we had lovely scones and some pretty cakes- we couldn’t even finish them all- plus we could have one lot of loose leaf tea but unlimited teabag tea, so I think I had 3 pots- Earl Grey to begin with, then two of strawberry and mango)- the time flew by and it was so relaxed- compared to when you go out for lunch and the waiter hovers by hoping you will clear off.

I walked back from the station but then the rain poured and the thunder rumbled, so Andy came to pick me up half way home. To counteract all the sugar from lunch time I had a lovely salad with spinach, beetroot, tomatoes and basil tofu.

Tuesday started in a similar way- this time I went on a longer run around the lake, and even saw some little ginger rabbits!

So cute! As my run went on the rain got harder and harder- I did 5 miles and about 2 minutes after I got home it was bucketing down.

Then, after breakfast and a shower I made some scones.

As I was off to another afternoon tea later that day- this time it was at a friend’s house and we were all bringing different items. I was in charge of gluten free scones (as one of my friends has coeliacs) – I was going to order some but the date was not good, went to Tesco’s to get some but couldn’t find them (or even a label), so decided to brave it myself! I used this recipe, and I think they turned out really well. I did have some Dove’s Farm baking powder (which is g-f) but I was worried that some flour might have got in, so I bought a couple of those Dr Oetker packs to use instead.

Previously (I think on Sunday) I made some caramel shortbread, also with a gluten free base.

I used a gluten free recipe (which was basically g-f flour, butter, sugar in the base, a tin of caramel, and then g-f chocolate for the topping)- now I usually make my own caramel and I wished I had, because this stuff was far too gloopy (which is why I put it in the cake cases)! Finding g-f chocolate was hard work too- in the end I used Dr Oetker chocolate chips but so many of them were made in a factory also processing gluten.

I had bought some strawberry jam, and made some blackcurrant jam (with our very own home-grown blackcurrants!) so I had rather a lot to take around.

Again it was a lovely relaxing afternoon- tea and scones, what’s not to like?

After popping to see my Mum on the way home, we went out on a walk in the evening as the weather had really brightened up.

Today we might be going to the cinema later, and my brother is away (so he won’t be running with Sweatshop), and the weather was forecast to be wet for a lot of the day, so I decided to run first thing. I went on the fields, as I have not done that route for a while. It was drizzling a bit after the first mile, and then it got heavier and windier (I had my tennis visor on but the wind was blowing the rain onto my glasses still)- I decided to finish on the tough bit of the field instead of going back to the road, and I am not sure if it was a good idea. The knee length grass was wet, so within a few steps my socks and shoes were soaked and squelching around. I did 5 miles and I feel like running on the fields is a different kind of run to pavements (tougher)- that was enough for me!

I had some strawberries that were going a bit squishy, so I cooked them in a pan with a tsp of Sainsbury’s vanilla sugar, and then when they had thickened a bit I added a tsp of chia seeds- I had this on top of a warmed cherry scone and a black cherry tea.

Running and scones- pretty much a perfect combination!

What is your perfect combination?

Cinema trips and keeping cool

Hey guys, how are we all doing?

A few weeks ago Andy bought himself an unlimited cinema pass, and the great thing is that on Orange Wednesdays I count as the free one. Combining that with the fact that the cinema is air-conditioned and we have been going there quite a bit recently.

The only trouble is that I normally go running on a Wednesday evening, so it can be a bit rushed (especially as you don’t book a seat). Last week I still had my cough so I didn’t go running, so we headed up to see Despicable Me 2 after dinner. It was quite funny, but I enjoyed the first one more.

Blurry shot of my Wednesday night dinner; spinach, tomatoes, courgette, balsamic, pesto quinoa, hummus and ryvita- I needed something cold!

This Wednesday I went running, rushed home (well, I tried- the run was tough in the heat so I jogged home and then walked the very last corner), showered and had dinner before we headed up to the cinema. We were planning on seeing Monsters Inc, but by the time we got there it had sold out. The car park was totally rammed, I have never seen it that busy. I think the air-con was calling to many people!

So, instead we saw World’s End, which was quite funny too. The pubs were all in Welwyn, and some of the street shots were too (I think some others were Letchworth) so it was quite strange to see our local town on the big screen!

On Thursday I went to work in the morning, popped to see my Mum after lunch and then headed to the allotment to do some weeding. After an hour of weeding (yes it needed it badly) I was rewarded by finding these two courgettes on one of our plants.

We had one for dinner with some pasta and pesto before I went to pump- can’t get fresher than that!

Pump was tough- the studio felt so lovely and cool when I first arrived, but after the first track sweat was pouring off me. I really noticed that I had missed 2 weeks, and my legs are still stiff today.

On Friday morning I headed out for a long run- I wasn’t sure how far I would go, in the end I went out for just over 3 miles, then turned around and came home. It was not too warm at that point, although I was in need of a cold shower when I got home! I had to wait in for our new sofa, so just got on with work and pottering. It has been too hot for the hairdryer so I have just been sitting around with wet hair all day.

After it was delivered I walked across the fields to the allotment and did some picking (when I did the weeding I forgot to bring a tub)- loads of raspberries, gooseberries, a few blueberries and 450g (I weighed them) blackcurrants!

Not bad!

This morning I picked up my brother and Dad (who had just driven back from Switzerland and wanted some exercise to stretch his legs) and headed to Parkrun. I got all my things ready last night, but in the morning I realised my Garmin battery was flat. When I told my Dad he said “did you need it today then?” thinking I meant a car GPS! I wasn’t expecting much today, as my legs were stiff from pump and I ran yesterday, but as usual the start went and everyone rocketed from the line. My Dad was off ahead, and I managed to settle into a rhythm, although I could feel on my last lap of the lake I was slowing down. My brother overtook me with the end in sight, but I couldn’t muster the energy to even try for a smackdown!

I am still waiting for the results- I know it wasn’t a pb but I am interested to see how it went- I am guessing 28 or 29 minutes. I showered at my parents and then we enjoyed a croissant in the garden- what a lovely start to the day. I think the garden was the coolest place (in the shade) as there seems to be more of a breeze today.

On a side note, I have been loving watching the athletics in Lyon this week (all the athletes are amazing but watching the visually impaired runners doing the relay was something else), and now the Anniversary Games- so exciting! Plus, as I went out for a run this morning I feel I have earned my (new) sofa time!

My Dad and Andy took our old sofa to the tip, and so when they got home I made us smoothies to cool us all down; this contained frozen tropical fruits and blueberries, a little almond milk and some coconut water.

Have you seen any good films recently?

Have you been watching the athletics? 

Edit- just got the email- 28.13 was my Parkrun time so pretty good (although that is my official worst time)- 29th out of 66 females. 

Race kit and shopping

Hey peeps- the week is flying by!

I have been in work each day this week (our last official day was Monday) but it has been lovely to take my time. On Tuesday I went out for a run before heading in to work (and went in with wet hair as it was too hot to use a hairdryer), and last night I went to the Sweatshop run. I was thinking maybe I should have just gone out on my own first thing, but I like seeing everyone there and I do run faster, even though this time I was on my own, I think trying to keep up with the front runners (well, keep them in sight) gives me a bit of a speed workout!

These are my essentials for a summer race! Sun-cream is a must- I used to have some Boots sport sun-cream (I think sports stuff is better as you need to sweat to cool down, but you don’t want the cream to run in the heat) but that ran out, and I had read some good reviews of the Banana boat stuff (which was cheap on Wiggle by the way). It didn’t run, and even though I had sweat pouring off me (especially during the wait for the goody bag/water) I didn’t get any in my eyes at all. Nuun tabs are my favourite way to replace electrolytes- plus they are handy as they are so small- sometimes I put one in a bag in my pocket, and then add it to the water at the end. As this time we took a bag for the drop I just packed the tube, and had one in my water when I had finished.

Baby wipes are another essential if I have any travelling involved- even to wash the salt off my face they just help me feel a little more human. This time I changed into fresh clothes in the toilets, so they came in handy.

I never take an mp3 player or headphones with me, but I do take my Spi-belt to wear, as that can fit my phone, a tissue and hand sanitiser (some more essentials especially if there are port-a-loos).

I have been doing a spot of shopping this week- I picked up some Tea India (Cardamom chai for Andy and Vanilla chai for me to make iced tea with)- yummy.

I saw this cute top/dress in Tesco and could not resist- I think it will look summery with some short leggings.

I made a lovely chai latte with the vanilla chai the other day- ice, cooled vanilla chai and soya milk- refreshing 🙂

What would be in your race kit? Have you bought anything exciting this week?

Danio yoghurts

Hey peeps- how are we all doing?

I think I have to start each post talking about the weather, just in case you live in a cave or something. Last night we had some crazy thunderstorms here- really loud and long thunder rumbles, and very heavy rain. I went out for a run before 7am this morning (amazingly missed the rain) and our front door was filthy as the rain has sprayed dust and dirt all up the door.

Anyway, a while ago I was sent a coupon to buy some Danio yoghurts.

From their information: it is a new super thick and super tasty strained yogurt, high in protein and low in fat.  Available in six flavours. The secret behind Danio’s thick texture is that it is made by a method of straining which uses more milk than standard yogurts and makes it high in protein.

They are thick Greek-style yoghurts (strained) with a fruity sauce on the bottom. I didn’t realise when buying them, but some are 0% fat, and some are not (and those ones have added cream).

I stocked up on a range of flavours, including strawberry, raspberry, cherry, peach, passion fruit and blueberry.

I thought the peach would be my favourite (I am having a bit of an obsession with peaches at the moment- so summery) but I think actually it would be a toss up between the cherry and the passion fruit (which I didn’t take a picture of but the sauce had seeds in it and was lovely and tart). But they are all lovely- I could not tell the difference between the 0% and the other one, although I didn’t try both at the same time. I always preferred the 0% Fage, and so I would probably just choose those ones in the future. I bought some more yesterday but they were on offer in Tesco’s and the only flavours left were 0% ones, so I got a couple more strawberry ones.

The yoghurts were indeed very thick, and there was plenty of the fruit sauce in them. There is added sugar in the sauce, but I would rather that than artificial sweeteners any day of the week, and they have a good protein content (e.g. the cherry one has 13g protein) and are pretty filling. I found them great as an afternoon or post dinner snack.

Are you a yoghurt fan? What flavours do you like? I don’t tend to buy them each week, but when I have them I do enjoy them, especially in this weather it has been lovely having cool food to eat.

*I was sent a voucher to buy the yoghurts, but all opinions are my own. 

Back to the stadium!!

So, be warned, this is going to be a long one!

This morning we were up bright and early- we put suncream on, got dressed  (I decided on my vest in the end as I was worried I would be too hot in the t-shirt) and headed out the door pretty quick (although I ended up having to put on my trainers and do my hair in the car!)- we made it to the train station with 5 mins to spare, and then the train took about 20 minutes to get to Stratford- we were in the park by 8.30am. We stopped outside to have a clif bar each and some water. There were already crowds about- I had my photo taken with Mo (well, a cardboard version of him!) and we went to have a look in the stadium.

There were loads to choose from with different slogans- some about the Mo-bot, but I liked this one and the one that said “follow me to the finish”- but that had a queue!

It was overcast, which of course was great for this time of year.

We went to the bag drop (Andy used it as he would be finished first)- and then wandered around a bit more before heading to the starter pens. I was very excited by this point and enjoyed the warm up (full of the now compulsory cheesiness of doing the Mo-bot and the Usain Bolt thingy.  When they introduced the elite runners (Sporty Spice, Victoria Pendleton and Paula Radcliffe) the man next to me I am sure inched away

The start was so well organised- each wave went off, then they moved the next wave along and we had a pep talk from Sir Chris Hoy which was good too. There was a big screen so people were running past the start line, then stopping and taking photos of him!

My wave went off at 10.20am, pretty much bang on time. I had moved towards the front (a few metres back) and I had no congestion at all- some parts were narrower but by those points the people around me had spread out. The first couple of miles were fine- I was going pretty fast (each time I glanced at my watch I was doing 9.09-9.20 pace) but there were a few slopes which meant I slowed. The route at times was great- some of the park was set out with pretty coloured lanterns, some of the fences had posters covered with events. At lots of points we doubled back so you could always see the faster runners ahead, and see where the route was going next. The water station was after 2 miles, and I didn’t have any because I was feeling fine then. Shortly before the 3 mile marker was a water station- I didn’t run through it (because then my glasses get all misty and I can’t see) but I ran next to it where I could see the pavement was wet, and did get a nice fine mist to cool me a little, as by then, even though it was still overcast, it was extremely hot. I had taken my glasses off to wipe them when I heard Andy shout to me- he was passing above me in the opposite direction (coming up to 4 miles I think)- I think because I was being a rebel and not wearing blue I was easy for him to spot. That gave me a little boost, which I needed as the slope then got steeper and the running got tougher- when I looked at my watch then I was doing 10.20.

I was entertaining myself with people watching on the course- a man went to do a wee after less than half a mile, there were people in Minnie Mouse ears, a man with music so loud I thought we were coming up to a music station, people in full length running tights, people with hydration backpacks (surely it would just give you a sweaty back?), people chugging energy gels…. All the marshalls were enthusiastic and having some banter with the crowd. Someone near me had a birthday badge on so they were being mentioned by them all. At one point a girl went to overtake me but slowed beside me- I looked at her and she said “Thoosa twin!” and then carried on (her vest was a Thoosa one too). The 4 mile marker came and by this point we were back near the stadium, and could hear the crowd cheering, and the tannoy system going. I had reached that point in 38 minutes, so I was hopeful I could get sub 50 minutes. With half a mile to go we headed down into the stadium (a road entrance)- we had to run inside a concrete tunnel thing- my, it was hot in there. Chariots of fire was playing and I did shout “YES!” at this point as I was envisaging the music playing all week when I thought about it.

Then, we were out into the stadium (although it was an annoying song that was playing- an abs body pump song from a few times ago)- 300m to go- the tannoy announcer was shouting about how it was a spring finish- not for me! I was trying to run! I did look around and try to take it all in and I was grinning for England. I realised I was on the outside of the track so I moved over. 200m to go and a man rocketed past me so fast- where did he get that energy from (maybe an energy gel was not such a bad idea???) and then the 100m to go and the finish line! It was all very exciting! Especially as the clock for my green wave was saying 48 minutes- a new pb!

As soon as we crossed the finish line we were ushered along but I did get my phone out and take a few photos (I am glad at these times I don’t have a touch screen as that does not mix with sweaty hands!!).

(I also had to avoid the marshall directing people around the big pile of sick covered in sawdust- on second thoughts maybe the energy gels were not such a good idea).

Then we were sent back into the under tunnel bit (I am sure it has a proper name) with the promise of goody bags containing water- by this point I was super thirsty and trying to lick my teeth to make my mouth less dry. As soon we I got inside there was no breeze and the sweat was just pouring off me- I did have a tissue in my little bum bag so used that, but it was really horrible. Eventually I found a bag and joined the queue to get back upstairs to try and find Andy.

I walked to the green area meeting up bit, and took a few photos as there were runners still pouring onto the track.

I walked down to the fence but couldn’t see him so headed back outside.

Then, I had a lovely surprise. I found Andy and was just persuading him to come back inside the stadium and take my photo, when I was tapped on the shoulder by the lovely Anna! We had messaged each other and hoped to meet up but it was very busy- I am still very impressed she managed to find me! We had a little chat about how we had found the race (Anna is an amazing runner and had managed an impressive time – similar to Paula’s time I think??- Paula did 32.27)-it was so lovely to meet another blogger even if I was covered in sweat!

Then I got my photo in the stadium!

I then headed to the bathrooms (I loved the fact we could use the stadium toilets and not port-a-loos) with my baby wipes and changed into fresh clothes- lovely.

We knew (from our trip to the Olympics last summer) that there was a Pinkberry, so we went there to cool down (we shared a medium which was massive- mango and salted caramel). Brain freeze!

Our train was at 12.45, and we were home by half 1 which was lovely (time for a shower!).

My official time was 48.19 which I am very pleased with, especially with the hot weather.

The medal is lovely too- with the date on one side and then the quote “I followed in the footsteps of legends” on the other. I loved it- the route was not the most scenic (they are doing a lot of building work around the park) but the atmosphere was great, and how many times do you get the chance to run on an Olympic track?

Phew, that is one of my longest ever recaps! As you can see, I did enjoy it!