Working out in fancy clothes

Now as you may well know, I am not the most fashion conscious person out there. I do like to buy new clothes, but I think I have found styles that suit me, and I don’t tend to try the latest fads.

I was recently made aware of an article that criticised Katherine Jenkins for wearing make-up while she ran a marathon. I mean, talk about ridiculous. (The full article is here, on the Daily Wail, but don’t feel that you have to give it page views). I don’t wear makeup, but I don’t ever wear it, and personally I would not want to wear it while working out as I hate the feeling of my skin being all covered and would imagine marscara would run all over my face. But, if you want to wear it then why not? I mean, I brush my hair before I work out as I have to tie it up- does that mean I am conceited or not putting in enough effort? No, it has absolutely no relevance. Some friends of mine have commented that they would not even go to the shops without makeup on and wish they had my confidence- I don’t think it is confidence really, but I think makeup on me looks sillier than my normal skin, plus I hate how it feels. But I don’t judge people who do wear makeup.

I do quite like to choose nice workout gear as I can end up spending a lot of time in it.

I have found that I like the following:

One- black bottoms. I do not want sweaty patches appearing!

Two- Loose fitting sweat-wicking tops. No cotton for me!

Three- Nice coloured other bits (eg jackets/ headbands)

Four- Comfortable clothing that does not move, chafe or generally slip about. I don’t want to be constantly pulling down tops or pulling up trousers.

The only thing is I chop and change between green, pink and blue accessories, so they don’t really match!

Now, I know you should not choose shoes on how they look (and I don’t) but I keep seeing gorgeous bright running trainers and getting tempted by them.

Sports Shoes have kindly sent me some fitness kit to help me look good while I work out

Seriously, how pretty are the shoes?

Love them! I have only worn them for walking so far but they are super comfy and really light. I don’t want to get them muddy, whereas usually with trainers I feel that they like to get muddy to show they are being used properly. These are too pretty for that!

They sent me some shoes, some long Nike workout trousers, and some Nike capris with a super pink waistband.

I love the long workout trousers, although as I am short they are slightly too long- they are now my official lounge pants (I have never had any before!)- they will also be good if /when I start doing yoga at home again.

The capris are fab- I prefer shorter bottoms as it doesn’t matter if they are cut a bit long. The waistband reminds me a bit of men’s underpants, but it does mean that when running they don’t fall down. I find that some with just elasticated waists can move about a bit, so I tend to go for ones with drawstrings so they can be tightened, but these stayed on my waist. Plus you can’t see the band underneath a t-shirt/ vest. Although the super shiny fabric (seriously, so shiny) meant that my little running belt kept slipping down. They also don’t have a pocket for my mp3 player. I do have pockets in some vests, so it would not be an issue, but I think I might keep these for pump anyway so it would not matter.

Although when I am running a race I tend to wear an old top as new ones get ruined by the safety pins- I know there is no point in trying to look my best for the race photos anyway!

Do you pay attention to clothes when you are working out? I must admit I have seen some rather funky leggings/ tights at pump recently, but I am sticking to my plain dark bottoms at the moment!

Would you/ do you wear make-up when working out (or just ever?)? I really don’t wear make-up at all. I wore mascara for Andy’s brother’s wedding at the weekend, and that was probably the first time in a couple of years, and I hated even that really. It is just not for me!

I was sent these in exchange for my review.

Cake Club Meeting

So ages ago I went to The Cake and Bake show with some friends, and while we were there I met another friend who was a member of her local Clandestine Cake Club. We chatted to the lady at the stand, and once home we both looked online for a local club. It held one back in the Autumn (with the theme of Winter Spice) but I could not go, so I was very excited to be able to attend one last weekend.

The theme for this event was “The Proof of the Pudding” so I attempted a pecan pie style cake.

I found a recipe in the CCC cookbook for caramel cake which included spices, so I used that as the cake base- you had to add some ready made caramel to the cake mix, so I used a jar that I bought.

I added pecans to the mix as well.

To make it more pecan-pie style, I wanted to have a soft caramel filling. I have a recipe by Rachel Allen for hazelnut caramel slices (I made them here– ages ago!) and the caramel filling is quite soft.

Anyway, I followed the recipe but it seemed to go a bit thicker than normal.  But I was going to a hen do that evening and had no time to start again, so I just had to hope for the best.

I put some in the centre, and then topped it with the rest. I then sprinkled it with toasted coconuts, a few dark chocolate chips (which melted when they touched the warm caramel-mmm), and then toasted pecans.

I was pleased with how it looked.

But in the morning I realised that the caramel was more like toffee and would be hard to slice- it was too late by then to do anything!

For the meeting we were going to The Pudding Stop (what a great fit for the theme)- I had not been there before but I don’t think it had been open long. I was a bit nervous about going in, but everyone was so friendly. My friend was there, but as well as catching up with each other we chatted to new people too.

Photo: Cake club meeting!

Just look at the spread of cakes! Sticky toffee cake, banana split cake, raspberry crumble cake, trifle cake, banoffee cake, lemon and blueberry cake….

Photo: So much cake (and tea)

I loved the little teapots too- with loose leaf tea. I had an Earl Grey to start, and then a peppermint tea later on.

My cake was extremely hard to slice because the caramel was basically toffee, but everyone was so friendly and no-one minded- phew! Next time I think I will practise the recipe first, although this time I had no time.

There was a lady from the local paper too, so I shall keep an eye out for her article. It was a real mixture of people- Andy was teasing me that it would all be retired people, but most people were a similar age to me, or slightly older.  Everyone was so friendly though and the two hours just whizzed by! One girl I was chatting to had been to a different cake club before, and told me to have only tiny slices so you could try them all, but even though I had small-ish ones I only managed to try 3. At the end we left plenty of cake for the staff as a thank you, and then we all got to take some home too so I could try the other ones.

Cake supplies for me and Andy for the rest of the week!

It was really lovely. I am not the best at meeting new people and often my mind goes blank, whereas when I know someone I can chat for England (as you can tell from how much I ramble on my blog) but I am really glad I went as it was great to meet new people, plus who would not want to spend a few hours eating cake and drinking tea? I have already mentioned to some friends about going back to the place after a meal out as the desserts sounded amazing.

Are you good at meeting new people? Would the cake club appeal to you?

If you are interested the write up is here, and of course you can sign up and find a local meeting in your area.

Women’s Tour comes to Welwyn!

On Saturday the Women’s Tour was finishing a section of the race in Welwyn, so I persuaded Andy to go along.

In the morning I had been on a 9.5 mile run. I wanted to do 10 miles, but the weather was predicted to be heavy rain and wind, so I thought I would play it by ear. I have a half marathon at the end of June, so a while away really, but we have a wedding next weekend, and then we are away the week after, so I wanted to have a solid long run before these two weeks as I think I will have to drop back. Anyway, I ran through the town centre and saw them putting up the finish area clock, all the fencing and the podium, and that got me more excited! It was drizzling when I left, then it brightened up, and then when I was about a mile from home the heavens opened and I was drenched within seconds- hello squelchy trainers. I was going to go out and back to make it up to ten miles, but I was pretty close, and I was soaked and knew that the extra half a mile would not make any difference to my half marathon training, so headed home to drip everywhere and fill my trainers with newspaper.

Shock! No pancakes! I was hungry after my shower and also pretty cold, so I opted for a quick breakfast of muesli (that stuff is not as nice as the normal Dorset stuff), strawberries and raspberries, and a chocolate flake tea. Mmmmm. Then, after drying my hair we were off! Due to road closures we parked near Andy’s work and walked in to town from there- we could hear the tannoy from a while away- it was very exciting!!

We found a good spot to stand, and had to wait for about half an hour. The atmosphere was great though- music playing, kids being handed little flags and windmills, the guy announcing giving updates (“they are 10km away now” etc) and then suddenly we could see them whizz around the corner. The speed they went past was amazing. I mean, I expected them to be fast, but literally blink and you would have missed half of them!

Most of them went past within seconds of each other, but there were a few that came in a bit later (maybe 5 minutes later, not much)- the announcer commented that because it is a team sport these back riders would have had important jobs earlier in the race.

Then we went to watch the presentations of all the different jerseys- they actually put them on right then! Although one rider won three different jerseys so she had to keep coming back on again!

By then it had started tipping it down, but the crowd was still there.

After the final presentation we wandered into the town centre and passed the Wiggle Honda team gazebo.

Laura Trott was in there having her photo taken and chatting to people. I saw her talking to a little girl and I just think it is great that children, especially young girls, have sporty female role models to look up to.

After that we went to Starbucks to warm up – I had a free drink to use on my card so we shared a huge chai latte- mmmmm.

Are you a fan of watching sporting events? I like watching running races but have not really watched cycling before, but it was really exciting.

Mark Kermode live as a birthday surprise

Hey peeps, I hope you are all doing well.

I am going to rewind to last week- I had a very busy week at work including a very important meeting on Friday morning (also my birthday, but that was not in the forefront of my mind!)- I had arranged to go to The Waffle House after work with some friends (if only they did a loyalty card) and then Andy sent me a text at lunchtime to tell me I had to be home by 7. I checked that we weren’t going out for dinner, as I wanted to have a waffle, but he would not tell me any more. At the end of the day I found out that the meeting had gone well, so I was in the mood to celebrate and finally enjoy my birthday.

The waffle of course was delicious- I went for a banana flapjack waffle, which is basically a waffle covered in sliced banana, a sort of granola (meant to be crumbled flapjack but I don’t think it is quite like that) and toffee sauce. The waffles there by the way are not like american waffles, and they are not like Belgium gauffres either- the waffles themselves aren’t sweet or rich, which is why they work with savoury toppings too.

I got home just before 7, and we then started walking. At first I thought we might be going to the cinema (as we can walk up to our local one, although that is not the one that Andy is a member of as they don’t do those cards) but then we got to the Uni – it was only when we got to the entrance hall that I saw a sign saying “Mark Kermode- this way”.

We listen to the film podcast from radio 5 (Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode) every Friday- and we take old ones with us on long car journeys, so it was great to see him live.

We went into a very fancy auditorium (it is a new campus, not the same as when I was there!) and relaxed. The evening was raising money for various local projects, and so we heard someone talk about The Rex Cinema in Berkhamsted- I grew up there and it used to be a cinema, then it was left vacant for ages, and then a group of people got together and converted it into an amazing cinema. In St Albans there used to be a cinema, but again that was left empty (I think the cinema company moved to an out of town development) and the same group are now converting it into a new cinema called The Odyssey (opening in the Autumn).

Anyway, after they talked about it a bit, it was over to Mark. He was talking about his new book:

Which was all about how no press is bad press, and how you remember a bad review (his rant about Sex and the city 2 is rather legendary- and funnier because he didn’t want to talk about it because he knew that even if he ranted people would see it just to see why it was so bad).

I like films, but I am no film buff so there were films mentioned that I had not heard of, but that didn’t matter as he explained about them and was very engaging and humorous. Then he did a Q&A session with people from the audience which was great- he would go into great depth for each question and the evening flew by.

Then we queued up to have our book signed. I was a bit nervous- I get so easily star struck (Andy loves to tease me about when I met Minnie Mouse at DisneyWorld- yes I was an adult and yes I was star struck) but Andy said that he would get it signed. Anyway, the queue was long and slow moving, and he then mentioned that it would be a great present for my Dad, who also loves Mark Kermode, so I then went to buy another book to have it signed for my Dad. Good, but this meant that I would have to say something.

When we got to the front he was very friendly indeed- I can’t even remember what we said but he chatted for a bit (and Andy thanked him for coming to Hatfield as we don’t get much here)- it was amazing really that he had talked all evening, and then was spending time talking to every person in the queue too.

I have not read the book yet- I am half way through a Martin Beck story at the moment so will start it after that. But it was a great evening, a great surprise, a lovely souvenir and also fab that we could just walk home.

Do you get star struck easily? I loved reading Anna’s recap of the Marathon Talk running weekend but I think I would be so self conscious I am not sure I would end up saying anything!

Birthday carrot cake

I saw this recipe a few weeks ago, on a fab blog (if you love weight lifting then check it out as she is awesome), and I knew I would have to try it.

It is grain free and gluten free, and to make it free from refined sugar you could miss off the icing, but where is the fun in that?

Cake in the making- a mess in my little kitchen

The recipe said 3 large carrots, but mine were huge so I think I could have used 2 of them! I needed a bigger bowl to mix it all. I added some sultanas, and I used pecan nuts as I love them.

Also it took around an hour to cook, but of course all ovens vary.

I made a lemon cream cheese icing, with some lemon juice, icing sugar, cream cheese, and lemon zest on the top.

It was fab! It didn’t taste super sweet like most cakes do, and I bet it would make lovely breakfast muffins if you cooked them in individual cases.

I also found this in the chiller section of Waitrose at the weekend (and apparently Tesco stock it too)- I used to love the Kara coconut milk, but when they changed to the Koko stuff for some reason I went off it, they must have changed the recipe. Anyway, this is scrumptious.

Are you an icing fan? I normally prefer the cake (which is why despite the blog name I prefer normal cake to cupcakes), but when something has a lemon icing I am won over!