Teapigs chai

Hooray! Today I decided to treat myself (well, after 2 days at work I needed the weekend!!!) to a lovely cup of teapigs chai tea.

Teapigs chai is made from tea (assam), cinnamon, ginger, cassia, cardamon pods, vanilla and cinnamon flavour.

It comes in a pretty “tea temple” and you can see all the spices through the fabric.

I had mine with milk as I like chai like that, and it was soooooooooo good. It really tastes so warm and spicey; the cinnamon flavour is delicious, but not too sweet. A lot like the starbucks chai tea (which I love by the way) but in a nicer teabag! And you can keep a box in your kitchen- bonus!

See the pretty bags?

Anyway, if you like chai I bet you will love this! Look on the teapigs site here for more info if you want to!

Aside from that, I went to work, came home and went on a gentle 2.6 mile run (27 mins) and then did the level 1 shred- helps to get over the body pump aches! My run was very up and down today; I think I kept speeding up and then realising it and trying to slow down as I wanted a gentle run- save some energy for my longer one tomorrow.

I made some nice bread to have with dinner (didn’t take a pic) and also had a walk this evening in the sunshine. Honestly, each year as soon as the schools go back the weather gets so much better!


Last day of freedom!

This is what the last day of the summer holiday feels like! I forget that even during term time I actually do manage to do things like running, seeing friends and so on. Also I usually have a mini panic as it has been so long since I was teaching- have I forgotten how to do it?

Anyway, today started off with me doing some work, while a man came to clean our oven. A friend recommended it to me, and I decided to give it a try. We moved in 4 years ago, but the oven must be about 8 years old, and even though I do attack it with the cleaners, it is never sparkling.

The guy did an amazing job! He took the doors off, took the trays and the brackets they fix to, and cleaned it all. He even got the grease out from between the two layers of glass in the doors (no idea how) and replaced the bulb that had gone. I am so excited that now when I am cooking something I can see it!  Next time I bake I may well have to do an oven-cam pic!

After that it was run time, so I loaded up my mp3 with some podcasts (including an interesting one, medical matters from radio 4, about a man who lost his memory- very interesting)), took some water and headed out. I went up to the lakes, but after 20 minutes I was getting a pain in my side (right-front stomach). After ten more minutes I stopped and walked for a minute, tried some stretching, but it didn’t go away, so I decided to carry on as the quicker I got home (hopefully) the quicker it would go away. Well, it didn’t until I got home and say down for a bit. No idea what it was about, but looking on my Nike+ after, I think perhaps I set off too fast. My miles went 8.48, 8.48 (is that possible to have two identical ones??), 10.33 (I walked a bit during that mile), 12.11 (not sure what happened there but there is a big hill!) , 11.20 and then 10.34 (home is in sight!). All in all the 6 miles took me 59 mins, including a walk, so not too bad, but I think I need to start off a bit slower, although it didn’t feel that fast!

Once home and stretched I had my last Seed Stacked bar- this one is carob topped.  It was also super delicious- the seeds give it such a great texture, and the carob was a nice addition (I can never tell it apart from chocolate anyway!). For the 50g bar you get 214 cals, 5.2g protein, 20.5g carbs and 4.3g fibre. Not too shabby.

Then I took a pic of my cute tin:

which I keep my cereal bar stash in:

I am very tempted to order a box of the seed stacked bars (plain or carob are both gorgeous) but I am not sure where I will put them!

After a shower it was lunch which got more and more processed as I went on!  Home-made squash and carrot soup, cherry tomatoes, then rye bread and cream cheese, then some so crispy bites (I fancied something salty).

I then sat down to watch The Great British Bake-Off. I love this show! Although I am finding it hard to pick up tips as the guy seems to sometimes tell them, but is never specific enough. I wonder if there will be a book to accompany the series? Remember the good old days of BBC fact sheets?

Later on I am getting my hair cut as it is such a rush to get there after work. I am wondering if I fancy a bit of a change but I am not sure. Hmm.

Anyway, while checking emails I tried this:

as I fancied something sweet. I picked it up on a whim in the health food shop the other week, as I am always tempted by the nice sounding flavours of all the dairy free “milks” (almond milk always sounds good) but I have never seen a trial size one before. I would not want to buy something and then have to chuck the rest away if I didn’t like it. Anyway, this stuff is lovely, very creamy and rich tasting. A nice treat for my taste buds!

Then to continue with my clear out I have sorted out my underwear drawers. I had so many socks that the drawer would not actually close. So I have sorted them into rows of thick socks, medium socks and summer trainer socks. Anyway, I found this in my drawer:

I got it ages ago and had completely forgotten. It is 88% organic, and has a long list of stuff that it does not have, including formaldehyde. So then I was thinking about the products I normally use- do they have nasty stuff like formaldehyde in them? I am not so bothered about it being organic, but I don’t reallt want nasty chemicals being rubbed into my skin. So I think I will have to read the ingredients more closely from now on. Anyone got a good product / range that is more natural than chemical?

Anyway, off to get my hair cut now, then dinner tonight will be my last quinoa and black bean bake (defrosting now) with some butternut squash, maybe green beans too. I am hoping for a walk this evening, as the last few days, although it has been cooler, it has also been much sunnier. I was reading on JAG’s blog about how Autumn is her fave season, and I think I don’t have a favourite season. I like the fact that in the UK the weather changes during the year, but most of all I love the sunshine. A sunny autumnal day where the sun shines off the golden and orange leaves, is as perfect as a summer day with beautiful blue sky, or a crisp winter morning where the sun shines off the frost (or snow).

I just love the sunshine!


Garden delight

Hope everyone had a lovely bank holiday 🙂
First things first- it was a 26 minute run today- about 2.8 miles in all. My speed was up and down, not sure why. I did have breakfast before, and let it go down while doing some cleaning and stuff. It was very windy out there so that could be why I suppose.
Once home it was onto the shred- my second time of doing it so I knew what was coming. I did enjoy it, although I am thinking that the same motivational comments may get annoying after a while- it needs to be like those football games where the commentary changes with each game, so you never know what comments you will get.  Anyway, I did manage it and am thinking that on some of the moves I need to use my heavier hand weights in order to make sure I am pushing myself.  But it was good 🙂

After that it was a raisin oatmeal clif bar. I think I may order a box from wiggle as they are so delicious, and it is cheaper to buy in bulk.

After that it was time for some garden centre wandering. I had some vouchers to spend, so we headed off to Crews Hill (a road with loads of garden centres all along it). Our fave nursery was having a half price sale, so in the end we only spent about £10 but got a massive pack of tulip bulbs, a lavendar plant, 2 other little shrubs, and this beautiful (hardy) hibiscus. So pretty. I am keeping it inside for a bit as there are so many buds. Each flower must be 4 inches across. 🙂

I also spent my vouchers on a pretty plant (agapanthus- not sure how you spell it- tropical looking) and a little strawb plant with loads of runners!

I planted a few of them when I got back, and have also attempted to put a net around the pumpkin, we shall see if it works.

This evening it was bean wraps for dinner (yum) and a little walk in the freezing cold air! Honestly it is autumn already!

Happy bank holiday and yay for the short working week!

Long run and short walk

But first, to last night. We went to Wagamamas for my bro’s b’day, and I must say-meh. It was alright- it was so crowded in there, we were squashed on benches between other people, and the food, well, not my style. I had something that claimed to be veggies (it listed loads like courgette, peppers, beansprouts, mange tout…) with wholewheat noodles, and fried tofu in a vegetable soup. What it actually was, was the most enourmous bowl ever, with vegetable water, noodles, hundreds of beansprouts and a few bits of veggies, plus some very soggy tofu. Anyway, it was a nice evening and my brother chose my carrot cakes over a dessert in the resturant so I was pleased!

Today it was long run day- YAY! Although yet again I had managed to not wash any of my running tops (well some I took out the machine this morning)- cue me drying my running clothes with the hairdryer!

My run was good, I took it nice and slow as I didn’t leave til nearly 11 and it was fairly hot out there. I did a few laps of the park, making myself go up some hills, and I averaged just over 10 minute miles. All in all it was 8ish miles listening to the marathon talk, and then some radio 4 podcasts. Good stuff. In the park I saw loads of mushrooms and so many fairy rings, even a few that were actually complete. Near our house there are a few but only horse-shoe shaped ones. It does show how autumnal the weather is when there are so many mushrooms growing already.

The marathon talk had an interview with a sports presenter (can’t remember her name) who used to run for her county, and they were discussing PE at school. It got me thinking about PE at my secondary school; the only thing I liked was hockey, because I was ok at it. All the other games (rounders/ netball= I can’t catch), athletics (no good at sprinting/ jumping/ throwing) I did not enjoy, and although I would never try to get out of a PE lesson (we had a load of girls who had notes from their “parents” each week) I did not enjoy them at all. I also hated swimming; my school had a swimming pool but we did it in the winter- wearing a swimming cossie was bad enough but then I would have sopping wet hair for the rest of the day- I have very thick hair- and wet hair on a cold day is not good. I was always active at home, but something about the obvious nature of finding something hard was really horrible. I am glad I have found activities I enjoy now, but I really do not have fond memories of school PE.  Anyone else enjoy/ dread school PE?

So, anyway, when I got home I was hungry so I had some nesquick and a chocolate chip clif bar. Ooooh that clif bar was goooooood. Massive chunks of chocolate, and the same chewyish texture as the other clif bars. Now if only we could combine the chocolate chip and the peanut one….

After a shower it was soup time- and this time delicious thick soup, not flavoured water (sorry but I don’t like that “broth” stuff).

Squash and carrots in a pan with some veg stock:

Plus I got a delivery from the flour bin (I have been waiting for ages but the folks were very good when I rang up – they were waiting for one item to come back into stock which they took off and then dispatched asap, so I am happy with the service)- I got some wheat gluten and chickpea flour for beanburgers and chickpea patties and things, and also some special french bread flour with a sourdough mix in it. MMmmm.

I didn’t have a recipe, so adapted one from the Dove’s farm book. Interestingly you had to put a bowl of water in the oven when you heated it up, and then bake the bread in the steamy oven. It seemed to work because lunch was delicious;

My boyfriend wanted to know where his bread was! (He was joking- We shared it- I am taking that as a compliment).

I have been in the garden for a bit- I peeled back some of the corn to see if it is ready, but it was still white so think I need to leave it for a little longer.

I have been watching some Man vs Food on the TV- anyone else love that show? It’s more like a travel show as he goes to different places in the USA< but he does find some crazy looking food (e.g. burgers the size of his head and so on!). I probably would not eat 95% of what he does, but I find it entertaining all the same!

Later in the afternoon it was time for some tea- this time Cinnamon Chai from whitards- I used loose leaf tea and it is lovely- basically a bag of cinnamon bark, cardamon pods, whole cloves and I think peppercorns. I have it with a normal tea bag in the pot too, and it is like extra special chai.

Plus a wholemeal scone with the plum jam. MMMM.

After the football finished (boyfriend was listening to it on the radio) we decided to have a walk. We took an umbrella, but then as we got around the corner we saw black sky in one direction, black sky in another, and we could see it was raining pretty hard in several places, so we decided to cut our losses and head home. So we only managed about 15 minutes, but about 5 mins after we got home it started pouring down, so I think we made the right decision!

I am looking forward to an evening in front of the TV now. Hope everyone else is enjoying their bank holiday weekend!

Solution to body pump aches

So last night was body pump- YAY! I love it and there was a new girl who came (it is normally a small class of 4 regulars plus about another 4 who come intermittently), so it was nice to chat to someone else and help them get the equipment out etc. I started a year ago, and my first day was similar- all the regulars helped me to get the step and the bar and weights etc, while I was a bit dazed by it all! She started with the same weights that I started with (eg 1.25kg on each side for the arms, and 2.5kg for the legs) and it made me realise how far I have come, as now I have a light bar of 3.75kg on each side, and a heavy one of 6.25kg on each side. Plus I can actually do the plank now!

Anyhoo- the day after I always ache loads, and last week I didn’t manage to get out on a run on Friday, so was still paying for it on Saturday. So today after breakfast I went out on a 2.7 mile run (in 25 minutes not bad). When I got home I tried out this:

I ordered it last week as I would like something I can do between running days, or after a short run, to complement body pump. I know that I could work out a routine myself but I am not good at pushing myself and think I would stop too soon.

So I tried out level 1 of the 30 Day Shred .

The DVD is broken into 3, 20 minute workouts, starting at level 1 (not easy!), moving up to level 3 so it seems good for progression. Also the only equipment you need are some hand weights, and I started on my lighter pair, so I know I can also move to using heavier hand weights.

I really enjoyed it; I love Jillian on The Biggest Loser, and during the workout she is talking to you about not giving up and feeling the burn and so on. She also demonstrates a lot of the correct and incorrect positions which was really helpful.

Each section has 3 circuits (plus a short warm up and cool down), 3 minutes of strenght work, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs, and most of the moves I had either done in body pump or during aerobics (things like the cardio flick kicks), so I felt confident doing it. It was hard work, and out of curiosity I left on level 2 and 3 just to see what they are like.

Some of the moves look hard, but then I thought if I watched a body pump class I would think the abs track looks impossible, but in fact I can do it, so I am thinking this will be good for me to do.

After that I was pretty hungry, so has some grapes and a seed stacked bar.

The bar has more ingredients than the plain seed bar I tried the other day- due to the yoghurt topping. I normally refuse to buy anything claiming to be yoghurt topped or coated as it is normally oil/ veg fat, sugar and milk powder. This one has those, but also some natural yoghurt. The topping did not taste that strong, but I suppose if you liked those kind of things then this would be far better than “yoghurt” coated raisins or an eat natural bar (I do not like their health claims when they are loaded with syrups etc!). It had 214 cals, 5.2g protein, 23g carbs and a great 4.3g fibre. Not bad for such a small bar.

After a shower and a trip to the garden it was lunch time again- roasted beetroot, cherry toms and this time red pepper, with a wholemeal pitta and cream cheese- yum.

I fancied something else so I had a pack of salt and vinegar So Crispy bites. They were tasty, and as they are made with part soya flour the packed had 8.7g protein which I was pretty impressed with! They have a similar texture to rice cakes, but a bit more substantial, which I prefer.

This afternoon I have been in the kitchen yet again! My fave hobby (apart from running of course!). We are off tonight to Wagamama’s (I think I must be the only person in the country who has never been- I am hoping they will have something I will like) for my brother’s birthday, so I made him some carrot cupcakes, this time with orange-cream cheese icing.

I adapted the Hummingbird recipe a bit, as 100ml oil seemed a lot, so I did 30ml oil and 70ml milk to keep the liquid the same. They look alright! The icing is super runny though!

Then I made some scones for me and my boyfriend 🙂 so we can try some of the jam I made. I used a recipe from the free Dove’s Farm book, which uses wholemeal flour, only a tbs sugar, and milk (no egg). There was a smidge of dough left so I made myself a mini one which I had as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea (Spice imperial of course). It was lovely, although they haven’t risen that much, even though I remembered the non-twisting-of-the-cutter-technique.

Inside the cup it says “it was all started by a mouse” which I love 🙂

I am going to finish making the squash soup now, and maybe have a walk as it has not rained for a while.

And I must say that I am a lot less stiff than usual, so after body pump as well as a run to help stretch out my legs I am thinking that a session of shredding may be added to the cure!

Any good post-workout-ache cures?