Baldock 10K recap

I only signed up to this race a few weeks ago, and then forgot (well, I thought it was later in September). Luckily the race pack arrived this week to remind me!

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I found it via Runners World but when I clicked on the reviews it took me to a different race instead. Anyway,10k was the distance I fancied, and it was not too far away.

It was a bit of a faff to get there, as there was no parking at the race start, so I had to park in the Tesco’s in Baldock and then they had two minibuses picking up runners from the high street and taking them to the start. The last one left at 9.20, so I erred on the side of caution and ended up at HQ at 9am.

The HQ was by some fields and barns, and sort of industrial buildings, and there were toilets in one of them (real ones with soap and everything), and the bag drop in another. I waited a bit as it was chilly so didn’t want to take my jacket off too soon. Then we had to walk 800m up a hill to the race start. I got chatting to a girl who was on her own (lots of people seemed to know each other) so that was lovely. The start was funny as the guy started doing the race briefing, and with the wind it was a bit hard to hear. But then thy set off a drone (no idea, maybe for photos?) and we could not hear anything over the noise of that!

Anyway, it started through (uphill) fields on rough track, so you had to watch your footing carefully. Some parts looked chalky, which turned out to be very springy and much nicer than the big flint stones. Then we went onto country lanes, but still with lovely views across the countryside. It was pretty hilly to begin with- short steep hills followed by longer slow ones. I was glad to get to half way. There was one water station but I prefer to wait until I finish as I can get a stitch- the girl who I was chatting to had been keeping up with me, but stopped for water whereas I carried on. It wasn’t long before she was behind me again.

The course was well marked with lots of florescent arrows, and marshals stopping traffic, pointing the way and cheering. I find 10K races strange- on the one hand they are not too long, so I want to not wish them away and actually enjoy it. But on the other hand you have to run a bit faster so I often find myself wanting to stop and walk, and have to consciously slow down so I can catch my breath. At one point I was running up a hill and dreading the uphill walk to the bag drop when I finished!

Anyway, after half way there seemed less hills, and after 7 or 8K a marshal told us “no more hills after this one” which turned out to be nearly true! I have had a cold since Thursday, so I wasn’t really focusing on time, I just wanted to enjoy it, but seeing that at 5 miles my watch said 50 minutes spurred me on to the finish. At one point I spotted the barns through the fields so I knew the finish was near, but 1K seems like a long way when you are tired! I turned a corner and could see everyone who had finished lined up by the side of the road cheering us slower runners home, which was nice but really I know I look awful by that point so would rather no-one could see!

As soon as I crossed the line I was given a print out of my chip and gun time- 1:01.23 chip time- how fancy! Then, the best part. As well as a bottle of water, medal and wrist band (with other events on the band- clever idea) they had a choice of either a banana or a spear of pineapple. Let me tell you, pineapple is amazing for after running. So juicy and refreshing.

They did the trophy ceremony at 11am (well it must have been just after as it was a few minutes after I had finished) so I watched that before getting my bag and waiting for a minibus.

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Not sure where I put the medal now, but it had the date and the race name on it.

As I had parked in Tesco’s I had a quick look in case I could find coconut peanut butter. Well, I couldn’t, but I did find these things.

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Dark choc pb for £2 a jar, and also gingerbread Alpro puddings! I love their dark chocolate ones for a treat, so when I saw these I had to try them. £1 for each pack too, bargain. And to balance things out some nuts and white chia seeds. Don’t know if they are different to black ones?

Anyway, I am really glad I did that race, it was good to run somewhere different. It was a bit of a faff using the minibus, so I think if I did it again I would look to park in a nearby village and walk there, as I didn’t get home until early afternoon when it is only a 25 minute drive away.

Now we are off out to dinner with Andy’s family, and I made us an apple cake for dessert.

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With apples from my little apple tree!

Did you have a good weekend?

French Toast with cage free eggs

Sainsbury’s are one of the only retailers who use cage-free eggs in their own brand products. I will only ever buy free range eggs (or I get them from my mum as she keeps hens) and I think that only products using free range eggs can be approved by the Vegetarian Society. I would not call myself a militant vegetarian, but free range eggs are something I feel really strongly about. My mum sometimes gets chicks from a farm, sometimes she gets live eggs to hatch if one hen gets broody, and a few times she has had rescue hens, which generally are chickens that were in battery farms but have stopped producing eggs so regularly. Seeing what they look like when she first gets them is horrible- they have hardly any feathers, bald  patches, they are so scrawny. But the worst part is that they don’t display normal chicken behaviour. The bottom of my parents’ garden is fenced off for the hens (with fencing over the top of some little apple trees to try and keep out the foxes) and the hens can scratch in the ground to their heart’s content. But the rescue hens don’t know how to do this- I imagine they have never seen grass or mud before. Thankfully after a few weeks of being with the other hens they pick up the behaviour, and their feathers grow back. They don’t tend to lay eggs every day, but they still lay lots each week. So often is I visit I will be given eggs to take home, but if I buy them instead, I will only ever buy free range eggs. Anyway, Sainsbury’s have asked bloggers to post a recipe using their eggs, and I was happy to oblige.

2014-09-13 14.48.21As you may know, I have been developing a love for French Toast. I have often found it too eggy, but on holiday this summer I had it a few times and it was gorgeous, so it has become one of my weekend breakfasts. All it needs is bread (I used sliced brioche), an egg, and some milk. Simple.

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This is not really a recipe, more of a “how to”. The apple tree in our garden produced a bumper crop this year, so I decided to have some spiced apple alongside. I cracked one egg into a pasta bowl, and added a splash of almond milk and some almond extract. I whisked it up, and then lay the bread in there to soak while I cooked the apple (in a tsp coconut oil and a little cinnamon).

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Once the apple was soft I put that on the plate and cooked the toast in the pan (love a one pan meal)- over a low- medium heat one slice at a time for a few minutes each side until golden.

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With a little maple butter on one (I am trying to make it last as long as possible) and maple syrup on the other, it was such a delicious breakfast.

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Sainsbury’s have a little video about their cage free eggs which you can watch here.

Are you a free range egg fan? What is the most unusual pet you have had? We had a stick insect when we were little, imaginatively called Sticky.

*I was sent vouchers from Sainsbury’s to pay for ingredients for this post. All opinions are my own.

The best nail polish remover

So I love painting my nails, but I hate using nail polish remover. It smells, it makes any tiny cuts sting, and it leaves my nails stained if I use a dark colour (yes, even if I use a base coat).

Until I came across this stuff. Priti Soy Polish Remover.

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It is  is 100% biodegradable, non-toxic and not carcinogenic, made from farm crops and does not contain any petroleum ingredients. I bought the lemongrass scented one, but they do an unscented one too. It is expensive, but I thought it would last a while as I only use a little bit each time.

I read a few reviews online, and they were mixed, but generally positive, and I am so glad I bought it. I ordered it from the Love Lula site (seeing a link on Laura’s blog) but google can show you other places.

Anyway, the verdict. It is amazing. A few tips of the bottle onto a cotton wool pad is all that is needed for each hand. The polish does not come off instantly but after a few rubs each nail is clean. It feels very oily, which is much better than the normal drying feeling, and it really does smell lemony. Also, no stains. I tend to choose darker colours like navy or deep pink, and normally my cuticles and under my nails get stained when I take the polish off (no idea why), but with this there is no such thing. No idea why. I have used it twice with different colours and each time has been brilliant.

If you are looking for a more natural product, or something that actually smells good, then I would recommend it 100%.

 Any miracle products that you have been converted to recently?

The streak comes to an end

Last week I mentioned that at parkrun I had managed to run in consecutive weeks 229.34, 28.34 and 27.34. I did think that 26.34 was out of my reach, and on Friday night I didn’t sleep too well, so decided to enjoy parkrun and not worry about time. Luckily I had decided that as my Garmin was still playing up, despite deleting all the files from it (something that had not occurred to me, as I thought that when I uploaded them to Garmin connect they were removed from the watch- nope, it had around 300 runs on there)- it refused to find a satellite for the entire run. It was with more anticipation than usual that I waited for my text- I finished higher in placing that last week, but it seemed busy and you never know how fast everyone else will be. I managed a 28.02, which is good, although I was hoping for something starting with 27, I was only 3 seconds from that, so not too bad.

I did get totally covered in mud though. There is one section of pavement still flooded, but there is a narrow path through the centre that is just muddy. I aim for that, but on my second lap I was lapped by a speedier runner who decided to plunge through the deeper parts – I don’t think he had realised how deep it was as he tripped and almost fell in the lake.

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Mud like that was all the way up the front and back of both of my legs- he really did flounder about in the mud and splashed it all over me! Luckily I am not too precious about keeping my car clean!

2014-09-06 10.58.17Home for French toast- the last of the brioche (it’s been in the freezer)- two of the slices were end slices so very thin.

After some jobs at home we were off to Ikea, oh the joy of visiting on a Saturday afternoon. We picked up things for our spare room (we decorated it last weekend and Andy has been putting down the laminate flooring with help from his dad this week), and then of course faced the puzzle of how to fit them in the car. Then we were off to our friends’ child’s second birthday party for a BBQ. I had offered to bring my own veggie burger, but then as we decided to go to Ikea I didn’t want to leave anything in the car for all that time, so ended up having salad and rice salad. This was good (tasty) but meant I woke up early on Sunday morning very hungry indeed. I had a berry nakd bar before heading out on my run, as I didn’t think it would be that sensible to run.

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I did the same 7 mile route as last weekend- I reset my Garmin overnight and although it took a while, it did find satellites in the end and seemed to be pretty accurate. I had to stop a few times as my new spi-belt is too big for my phone so kept working into annoying positions where my phone was smacking me in the back- I ended up with it on my hip. But I did get to hear my Marathon Talk rate your run- I had no idea they would read it out (sometimes when you rate it, one of them replies so you have an inkling that they might)- what a surprise! Then buckwheat pancakes.

I have still been following the Kinetic Revolution program- you can see my page here. Although I have missed a few days, so although I am on Day 14 I have been doing it for more than 14 days if that makes sense. Some of the moves are pretty tough now, but I am hoping that if I continue I will see some improvement. I really like the stretches from the first 6 days so have been carrying those on too. It is free, so I would recommend you checking it out.

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We went to see Andy’s parents and sat in their garden for a couple of hours before coming home and getting on with housework, so after doing the Kinetic stuff I really fancied something cold, and remembered I had this in the fridge. I didn’t think it would be fizzy (it was) but I loved the delicate rose flavour.

Photo: My new office !

While I was doing that, Andy finished building my new desk and chair for me. Hooray- this is my new “office”- really the little corner of our spare room behind the airing cupboard- the room has always been Andy’s office before now, but now we share. I don’t think my desk will stay clear for long!

Are you an Ikea fan? When I was little I loved the showroom bit as you could pretend you lived there, but now I just want to get around as quickly as possible!

Rice cakes

I never used to be a fan of rice cakes. I used to find the texture weird, and they used to stick to the roof of my mouth a bit.

Then I discovered chocolate covered rice cakes and things changed. I quite often buy the dark chocolate ones from Waitrose (Itsu I think), and then I was offered the chance to review some Kallo ones.

2014-08-20 15.19.15First up, I had to try the chocolate orange ones, and they did not disappoint, being covered in little orange crunchy flecks.

2014-08-28 13.40.07They are so tasty! I love dark chocolate and orange together, what more is there to say? They are made with whole grain brown rice too.

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The quinoa and seeds ones were lovely too, although quite sweet tasting. They were covered in seeds, hence the before-topping photo.


Topped with black bean spread and avocado- such a good snack.

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Of course they are always good covered in hummus, nut butter or nutella (my favourite- I can’t believe I don’t have a picture of this, although I am sure you can imagine what it looks like).

2014-08-23 16.19.06I didn’t try the yoghurt ones as I am not keen on yoghurt coated things- I took them into work and they looked pretty. You can see their whole range of rice cakes here– I like the sound of the blueberry and vanilla ones, and ordered some balsamic vinegar ones from ocado as I quite like savoury snacks like that, although to me they tasted a bit more like marmite (but I like marmite too).

They are more of a at-home snack as I find they do not last well in my bag, plus I think they generally need some sort of topping (apart from the chocolate coated ones) but I am a bit of a convert. I only wish I had a tin big enough for them- I have a ryvita tin but the big tubes of rice cakes don’t fit in it!

 Are you a rice cake fan? What would be your ideal flavour? Of course rather predictably I think that a chocolate peanut butter topping would go so well.

* I was sent some rice cakes in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.