Enjoying the final days of summer

So, the last week of the summer holidays has been and gone. I spent three of the days at work (plus time at home catching up on bits too), but of course have managed to do some non-work related things too.

Of course there has been some running. On Tuesday I had a rather late lunch, and went on a run too soon after, so the 4 miles were not the most enjoyable. Lesson learnt.

On Wednesday I was off to Sweatshop- we did 3 laps of the uni, which could be boring, but luckily someone who runs at a similar speed to me was there (she is a bit faster, but is happy to run at my pace) so we had a nice chat and catch up.

On Thursday I went to pump- the instructor is off for the next three weeks so I decided to go heavier on some of the weights- triceps, squats, chest- regretting that in the morning!

I am still doing the Kinetic Revolution- here is my page if you fancy a nose.

Some food pictures :


I bought an avocado saver (only a few pounds from amazon) and finally got around to using it. Enjoyed half an avocado on rice cakes with some black bean dip (which was super tasty- Black bean and caramelized onions, with roasted red peppers and other tasty stuff in there too).

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Bought some coconut collaborative yoghurt from Ocado (saw them in a Waitrose in Kings Cross randomly, but not my local one yet). When I first tried coyo, I liked it. But after that first time each time I tried it I have felt a bit sick. Even bought some again the other week to try it, and I still felt rubbish after. Not sure why. Then decided I would try this stuff- the seed one comes with a little pack to sprinkle on, which I nearly didn’t find. I like it more than coyo, and I also like the smaller pot size. Not sure I will be buying it regularly though.

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Tried to take a pic- this one had no use by date, but they all have a date when they were made, so I think I was safe to eat it. 

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Andy made a sweet potato chilli- I love this! He has it with brown rice, I have mine with avocado. So tasty (and even better after being frozen and re-heated- we have 4 weeks worth in the freezer now).

2014-08-28 13.20.56Hummus Chips. Another Ocado purchase. These are sundried tomato and basil flavour. Nice, but I don’t get what the fuss is about.

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Ordered a trial pack of the “adult” mylks as I loved the chai one so much and fancied trying the green tea flavour. They are taking up space in the fridge at the moment!

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Attempted to make a London Fog latte. Earl Grey teabag, vanilla syrup + heated milk.

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Almond milk does not froth up like soya milk does. Funny grey colour but a cosy drink for a grey evening.


Why don’t more companies make sour cherry dark chocolate?

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My parents keep giving us cheese, so had yet another salad (although I love it, I am not complaning) to use it up- rocket and other leaves, tomatoes, sundried tomatos, avocado, balsamic and fig glaze, wenslydale+cranberries cheese, hummus on a spare rice cake.

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French toast is still my new love.

 This morning I went to parkrun with my brother. Last week I ran 28.34, and the week before 29.34, so we were chatting about what a coincidence it was. I tried to run harder, but the start is pretty narrow and now over 300 people are coming regularly, which means it is a bit of a bottleneck. As it is a lapped course, it also doesn’t really empty out until my final lap (as a lot of people have finished by then)- I felt I spent the whole time trying to get past people, and didn’t really get into a stride. I glanced at my watch once, and then decided that it makes me too stressed so I flipped it around so I could not see it. Anyway, crossing the line I knew it was 27 something, but later on got my text to see that my time was 27.34! Exactly one minute faster than last week, and 2 than the week before! What are the chances of that happening? My “subtract sixty seconds streak” will be coming to an end next week I suspect!

Anyway, after popping home to see my parents, I came home for breakfast and then helped Andy with decorating the spare room- I volunteered to do by the skirting boards (as I hate the step ladder) but all that crouching down wore me out (and took a lot longer than I first imagined too- so fiddly)!

Are you a fan of decorating? I don’t mind the actual painting, but I really hate all the moving of furniture that goes before and after. We don’t have a lot of space, and now our living room is full of the shelving units and other stuff that we had to move.

Battenburg Baking

So, last weekend I was flicking through my favourite cake recipe book (The Clandestine Cake Club book) and noticed the recipe for Battenberg or Battenburg, depending on what book/ website you go for. I love almond cake, and marzipan, but have never made one before. Well, no time like the present!

You can get special tins, but the book had instructions for how to divide a normal tin in half using folded baking paper.

2014-08-23 16.01.29Also, I don’t have pink food colouring, but I had red. The plan was to use only a little, but as you will see, it is rather more shocking pink than pastel! Anyway, what I would do next time is weigh the bowl so I could work out the weight of the final mixture, as I did it by eye and ended up with more pink mixture.

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After the cake cooled, I cut it into the four slices and trimmed the ends. Again, I might trim the ends after assembling next time, as the marzipan needed neatening too. Although the offcuts were a good bonus! I did this while the Grand Prix was on- I quite like having a project like this that I can get on with in the living room.

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Stuck together with warmed apricot jam, and then rolled in marzipan.

I bought some new plates this week, and they were the perfect size and shape- amazing!

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We took it to Andy’s parents for tea, but we didn’t eat it all so we left them a few slices and we had some to take home too.

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We enjoyed a slice each on Wednesday (good post run pudding).

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I am really glad I had a go- it was a bit time consuming to assemble, but it looked really pretty and tasted good too.

Battenburg- yay or nay?


Salad Sprinkles

On a side note, Andy’s old phone used to show the weather each day, and light rain was classed as “sprinkles”, which I think sounds so much nicer.

But this post is about a different type of sprinkle.

2014-08-12 18.53.05Sainsbury’s kindly sent me some salad sprinkles and I have been enjoying them on so many meals.

Salad 1:

Pea shoots, cherry tomatoes, avocado, tomato salsa, hummus and Italian sprinkles.


Salad 2: Sliced cos lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado, salsa (yes, bought salsa so had to use it on most salads!), hummus and oat cakes, pine nut sprinkles.

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Salad 3: Roasted vegetable cous cous, mixed leaves, cherry tomatoes, salsa again, halloumi cheese (grilled for a few minutes), pine nut sprinkles.

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Salad 4: Pea shoots, cherry tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, avocado, wenslydale+cranberries, sour dough with sundried tomato+basil hummus (which is my favourite hummus- I am always very happy when I manage to buy some), Italian sprinkles.

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Salad 5: Caramelised onion and black bean dip + avocado on ryvita, spinach, tomatoes, pine nut sprinkles, balsamic dressing.

The toasted seed and pine nut one was my favourite- containing sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and pine nuts) as it was simple and added such a good crunch.

The Italian style sprinkle was lovely too, with mixed seeds as well as dried red onion and sundried tomatoes for more flavour. Each packet was listed as one serving, but I found them to be pretty generous (25g is a lot of seeds!) so I would say you could easily have them over 3 or 4 meals.

They also sent me a dried fruit & honey seed sprinkle but I keep forgetting to buy yoghurt to put it on, so I shall look forward to that another day.

Do you love a bit of crunch on your salad? If I go to a place with a salad bar I will always add something for crunch, but at home I don’t tend to. We have pine nuts which we have on pesto pasta, so I don’t like adding them to salads as then they get used up too quickly! I also like it when you can add a few dried cranberries or raisins, but again when I make salads at home I forget about add-ons like that.

* I was sent the salad sprinkles in exchange for a blog post, and was sent a voucher to purchase additional salad items with. 

Epic afternoon tea

Last week I was off to London to see some friends. We try to meet up in the holidays, and recently have been going for afternoon tea as it means we are left to it and can spend hours catching up.

Andy dropped me off at the station on his way to work, so I had a bit of time in London to myself.

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It was a lovely sunny day, so I headed to Trafalgar Square.

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We live pretty close to London but don’t go in that often. According to my friend this giant chicken has been there for ages, but I had not seen it before.

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I also popped to the Wholefoods in Piccadilly, for a cold drink but also a little browse.

2014-08-21 11.38.59Ocado now stock the kids ranges of these, so I had tried the chocolate and chocolate orange versions (they are coconut milk based drinks, and are delicious)- of course seeing the word “chai” I was sold straight away. I did buy a few bits in there too. Although I wish I had bought a few more of these chai drinks as they are so tasty.



Restrained purchases: Carrot, apple and cinnamon granola, cacao powder and some raw chocolates.

Then I walked to meet my friends. We went to the BB Bakery in Covent Garden (well really it is off The Strand and really near Trafalgar Square)-and it was amazing.

2014-08-21 12.47.40There was a tea menu, which I love, and the teapots were so pretty (and each one different) with little infuser balls hanging in them. We were also given some orange juice- this seems to be at a lot of afternoon tea menus now. All the crockery was pretty but mis-matched-I loved that to.

2014-08-21 12.52.40This was for 3 of us to share, and they had put all the vegetarian sandwiches together. It was a mountain of food! A little blini thing, cream cheese + cucumber sandwiches, ciabatta bread with tomato and mozzarella, a little quiche (I don’t really like them so didn’t have mine, but it is nice to have some variety). Also there were 3 of each cake- sometimes you have to bargain or cut them in half, but we all had the same. A lemon meringue tart, a ginger cake topped with custard and fresh berries, a strawberry cupcake with strawberry icing (this was really good- we all thought it would be a plain cupcake with pink icing, but it had fruit in the cake, and the icing tasted really fruity too), a macaroon, and the most amazing squidgy pecan brownie. The bakery also sell cupcakes and brownies, and I would say if you are nearby have a look and treat yourself because they were so good. (Also, we booked in advance so it was a little cheaper I think, although their website seems to have 2 different prices so I am not sure).

All the while they kept offering to top up our teapots with fresh water, and hours later when we had finished most of the tier, they brought out warm scones with home-made jam and cream. No photos of those though!

We ended up being there for about 4 hours I think! A good catch up! Then it was time to brave the rush hour tube and get the train home. I was planning on walking back from the station, but it was much later than I thought we would be, so Andy picked me up which meant I could get to body pump on time. It turns out that afternoon tea is pretty good fuel for pump!

I would not like to live in London, but I do like being close by and it is great to be able to pop in for the day. Do you enjoy being a tourist to places close to you?

Feeling the parkrun love!

(But, no pancakes…..)

So after getting back from holiday I had a bit of trouble getting back into a running routine- going away for the weekend didn’t help things. But on Monday morning I headed out on a gentle 3 miles to try and help re-set my body clock. I had stiff calves, probably from the long car journey the day before, but it was good.

I was so nervous before Sweatshop- each week different people come so I never know if I will be on my own or with someone, and missing a few weeks meant I would struggle with the speed. I ran with other people for about half of it, then I got caught when crossing a road (the others managed it, and I had to wait a bit) so was a bit behind. But all good. The hip (which was niggly after a long bus journey, flight and car rides) had been behaving. Body Pump went well- I was careful during squats and lunges, but I think in a way it helped.

When Saturday rolled around it was time for parkrun- hooray!

Photo: <3 parkrun and now we have a sign !

I was so excited about the flag that once I had finished and queued up to have my barcode scanned, I went back to the car, got my phone and went back to take a picture.

I was so excited to see that we have a flag! It makes it seem official. Plus it marks the start properly- usually at just before 9 most people have to shuffle back as they are all too far forwards.  I wanted to keep under 10 minute miles. I knew I was not in speedy form, but also knew that I could go faster than my Monday shuffle. But I didn’t want to get a sore hip again, so that felt sensible but also challenging.

I was really pleased with how I managed- I kept glancing at my watch to check my pace. The course is along a path, 3 laps of the lake, and back along the path.. During the second lap of the lake the wind really picked up, and at that time I was creeping towards 9.55 min miles, but of course on the other part of the lake the wind was behind me. For ages I was behind a tall man pushing a buggy, but he seemed to be going a fraction too slowly so at the start of the final I overtook him. I was then regretting it- he was a good windbreaker so I should have waited!

It was my lungs that were struggling more than my legs though! My time was 29.34, so under the 10 min miles I wanted to do. All good.

I had promised Andy I would make us French toast if he waited for me to get home. Yummy. We bought some brioche, so for two of us I whisked up 2 eggs, a little almond milk (maybe 50ml) and some vanilla extract. and soaked the bread for a bit. I put a little coconut oil in the pan and then cooked them one slice at a time, although I am not sure if the coconut oil was actually needed.

Served with fruit, maple syrup and even a little maple butter (my word this is heavenly stuff).

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Andy started his while my final one was cooking.

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On Sunday I went out for a long run. I could not decide and initially thought I would do about 6, but the weather was cool so I took advantage and did 8.2 miles (but with a lot of stopping, sorting out the podcasts to listen to, and getting some cash out). I went for French toast again after- it’s the new pancakes.

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One with nutella (covered up the burnt bit, shhh), one with maple butter

On Monday I went out for breakfast with some friends, and this morphed into brunch and the lunch time! I had to pop to town on the way home so had a nice wander around town in the sunshine, and then after dinner we had a walk- my legs needed something gentle after the weekend.

This Tuesday I did a 5 mile run first thing- I found a new part of the fields to run on, although one part was not really path so I had to slow right down for fear of twisting my ankle! I had a lot of work to do, but again managed to have a walk before dinner for a little extra bit of fresh air.

On Wednesday I was working at home, I walked up to the shops before lunch, did a massive house clean (how does everything get so dusty so quickly? ) and also started doing the Kinetic Revolution 30 day challenge. I have set up a page for me to track how I get on, so pop there if you fancy finding out what I am going on about (this post is already pretty long!). Sweatshop was good- we did the longer fields route that I found on Tuesday, and all my Sweatshop miles began with a 9, which I was pleased with. The lungs are getting it back! Although on a side note my Garmin has been playing up again- those were identical routes but it took so long to find a satellite signal that one run was 5.15 miles, the other 4.65! Quite a difference!

I am really looking forward to parkrun again this Saturday- I am aiming to get half way to 50 (so 25) before the end of the year, which I think should be achievable although we do have a few weekend away/ races, so we shall see. I want to beat my time from last week too- here’s hoping for cool weather but not too much wind.

For more parkrun love, last Saturday I came across this video: which made me more excited too! I think parkrun suits the autumn- the weather is cooler and the air is crisp, so getting out for a brisk 5k is just perfect before heading home to warm up again.

Have you ever had maple butter before? I saw it on Oh She Glows, but have not tried making it myself yet, although after buying some this summer and seeing how wonderful it actually is, I might have to give it a go…