Bargains!

So here is me thinking I have not bought anything in the sales. Well, it turns out I have bought more than I thought! Online shopping means it is easy to order things quickly, without a 3 hour battle for a car parking space, or a long queue at the checkout. Today the door went twice- first of all were my new trainers from Sweatshop;

They are too pretty and clean to wear outside in the grey slush and mud!

Then it was my parcel from Wiggle;

My waist pack for water and some clif bars.

Also I took a picture of the bargains I picked up yesterday;

A silver sparkly scarf and a trio of measuring cups from Waitrose (I saw them in M&S but didn’t get them)- there is a 1cup, 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup that all fit inside each other.

I have also ordered a dress from Animal which has yet to come, so in fact I have bought quite a lot of things!

This morning after breakfast I was off on a long run. I decided to try out my new waist pack, and was pleased that my old bottle (which even though I wash it in the dishwasher still smells slightly of squash due to me having Nuun in it) fitted in the bottle holder.  I could not decide where to wear it- I started off with the bottle in the small of my back, and kept on needing to tighten the straps as I ran as I had made it too loose at home. This was not really uncomfortable, but it was great either, so I ended up sliding it around so the bottle rested on the back of my left hip- that seemed to make it bounce less and also meant it was easier to get the bottle in and out. Andy told me before I set off (in a sarcastic tone) “you look cool- how far are you going?”- I feel I would like a sign that says “I am running 8 miles” so people do not think I am out for a 20 minute jog with all the gear! Anyway, it was much better than getting an aching shoulder after carrying a bottle in my hand the whole way. My run was a steady 8.5 miles, in 93 minutes (with a few stops to cross the roads)- around the park and back while listening to the marathon talk podcast review of the year- I was again laughing out loud at points. If you have not listened to one yet then I really recommend it- it’s informative, funny, light-hearted, interesting, inspiring, and helps the miles fly by.

I did not try the new shoes as they were too pretty to get covered in goose poo (I ran to the park if you didn’t guess). I logged into Nike+ the other day and it was so funny- I have the sound off on the laptop and suddenly a video of Paula Radcliffe popped up. I put on the sound and played it again and it was because I had run 500 miles! I had not even noticed. But those 500 miles have been in the same pair of shoes, so no wonder I needed some new ones!

This afternoon I am mainly relaxing- watching Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs, and maybe making some spiced nuts. By the way, I had the easiest meal the other day- (for 2 of us) we cooked 2 sweet potatoes (in microwave and then finished in the oven), heated a pot of Sainsburys fresh 3 bean soup (it is tomato soup with beans and veggies but it is thick, like chilli)- had this on the sweet potato with some salad. Amazing, so lazy but much nicer than a ready meal!

Later, dudes 🙂

Teapigs Giveaway!

Hey I am so excited about this giveaway! You guys know that after I was sent some Teapigs tea to try, I have fallen in love with their teas. After drinking all the trial packs, I swiftly ordered some more (including chocolate flake tea to try). My faves are the chai (obviously) the caramel rooibos and the spinced winter red tea.

Teapigs are offering UK residents the chance to win some special wintery teas (chai, spiced winter and chocolate flake)- perfect to warm you up after a run/ walk in the cold winter air. Now, what goes perfectly with a warm cup of tea? Well, that is the question indeed. You all know I am a fan of baking, and baking goes perfectly with tea, so (we have to have some kind of fun competition) I would love to know your favourite recipe to go with a cup of tea in the winter.

The way to enter the competition is simple; use the comment section of this post to either post your recipe directly, or leave a link to where the recipe is (e.g. on your blog). I am looking for winter/ Christmas themed baking, and it has to go nicely with a cup of tea. Entries close at midnight on Sunday 14th November and the winner will be chosen soon after! So have fun getting creative in the kitchen!

If you are unlucky and do not win, do not fear because Teapigs now make Piglets (how cute is that?)- which are little trial 2 packs of tea. Perfect if you fancy trying a new flavour (or perfect as a stocking filler perhaps??). Plus ordering piglets sounds so cute!

Half term is here!

Hooray!

After a fun training day yesterday, I am officially on half term! It has been very busy at work so I am looking forward to recharging my batteries and catching up with friends etc.

I got home and had a mango mule bar

(Like my chocolate nail varnish?)- it was super tasty, very mango-ey. Mmm. I have made a little review page here for all the mule bars I have tried so far.

Then I went on a short run. My legs were not too bad from body pump, so I decided to try and do a short fast paced one, and managed to do 3.4 miles in 32 mins- according to the Nike+ my average page was 9.30 per mile, so not bad. By the end my legs were sore though! They feel fine today.

Then, when I got home, I had a package delivered;

Look at all the different flavours;

Ages ago I emailed Clif bars to say how much I loved them, and how I wished they did a bigger range of flavours in the UK. They emailed back to explain that it took a while to source ingredients, sort packaging and things, and then said they would send me some american ones. So so kind of them!

The flavours I have to try are cranberry apple cherry, black cherry almond, peanut toffee buzz, chocolate almond fudge and oatmeal raisin walnut. By the way, look at the size of them compared to the UK ones;

Baby UK oatmeal, between daddy peanut and mummy chocolate from the US!

OK, I have pottered about enough, time for my long run- later guys!

Nutty about nut butters!

I have always been a fan of peanut butter- still love it in sandwiches, wraps, baking, spread on an apple….

But over the last few years I have branched out and tried all different types of nut butters, so here are a few that I have tried:

Carley’s Organic Rainforest Nut Butter

I found this in my health food shop, but I have seen it online (possible at planet organic). It is made from (organic) brazils, cashews and macadamias, with no added salt or oil or anything. It does not look that appetising- it is quite pale in colour, but it has a lovely subtle, creamy taste. I like the jar because as well as the usual calories and fat it also lists the amount of omega 9 (3.9g) and omega 6 (2.3) oils, calcium (18.1mg), zinc (0.6mg) and selenium (184 micrograms) in a 15g serving. Useful info indeed. And seriously, this stuff is delicious!!!

10/10 cherries

Meridian Almond Butter

This is made of roasted almonds (99.5%) and salt (0.5%), no added oil or anything else. This is very “bitty”- you can see the tiny pieces of almond in it, but is is also quite runny and easy to spread. I think it goes really well on wholemeal toast, or spread on an apple. It is not my favourite flavour, but it is delicious. The oil seperates out quite easily but it does mix back in.

8/10 cherries

Meridian Hazelnut Butter

This stuff is amazing! It is quite thick and hard to spread, but it tastes so good. Hazelnuts go so well with sweet things, and this is no exception.

9/10 cherries

Meridian Cashew Butter

I first got this in Sainbury’s but since then I have only seen almond butter in their stores. It is in Holland and Barrett, other health food shops and online so easy enough to get hold of.

It is really thick and quite hard to spread thinly, so I always end up with a blob of it instead of a smooth spread. But it tastes amazing, very creamy (as raw cashew nuts do). If it was easier to spread it would be perfect.

9/10 cherries

Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams

This is a treat for sure! It is made up of peanuts, cane juice, cocoa powder and butter, oil, vanilla and salt, so not as pure as the other nut butters. I waa glad when I checked their website that their palm oil is from sustainable plantations, as I am trying to make sure I am thinking about making ethical food choices. I got it from www.americansweets.co.uk along with some pumpkin puree and a few other bits. It is lovely- chocolate and peanut butter are such a good combo- I have had it in a pitta bread with some sliced banana and that was so good. It would also be amazing on ice cream! I am making the jar last as long as possible! It is very runny so you don’t need much to spread around.

I may attempt at making my own once it has run out as it was expensive to order and probably I could add some cocoa powder and maybe agave (to make it more runny) to some smooth PB.

10/10 cherries

Whole Earth Smooth Original Peanut Butter with no added sugar

This only has peanuts, palm oil (from RSPO member) and salt as ingredients.

I wish it didnt have the salt though. I find the crunchy whole earth really salty, but this is not as bad. It is smooth, but you can see little flecks of dark in it (like when you have vanilla ice cream with bits of pod in it)- shows it is made from real peanuts. It is much less oily than some other brands, nice and thick for a smooth spread.

9/10 cherries (it would get 10/10 if it was free from salt)

Whole Earth Crunchy Hazelnut Chocolate Spread

Nutella has nothing on this!  Imagine Nutella, but with lovely chunks of hazelnut throughout and you end up with this! Again not the healthiest, but lovely for a treat, plus the palm oil at least is more ethical.

9/10 cherries

Meridian Crunchy Peanut Butter

This is very chunky indeed- the chunkiest ever peanut butter! It is very thick- the oil seperates out naturally and can be stirred back in, and I find it quite hard to spread on toast or bread. I tend to use this if I am baking because it adds a lovely chunky texture to cookies. Real peanut flavour too. I like that is has no sugar and no added salt (again why it is good in sweet things).

9/10 cherries

Delicious drinks

 

Vita Coco Coconut Water
This has 20 cals and 4g carbs per 100 ml and has more potassium than sports drinks, so it is a good drink for after exercise to stop dehydration. The water does have a faint hint of flavour, slightly sweet, but does not really taste of coconuts. Once it has been in the fridge it is very refreshing. I get it from Holland and Barrett but I have seen it online from a few places too. I really think it is lovely as a post-run drink.
8/10 cherries

Vita Coco Coconut water with Mango and Peach:
This has 25 calories per 100ml, and is made of coconut water with mango and peach juice/ puree. It is so delicious and refreshing, the mango and peach flavours come through and make it much more fruity and flavoursome. Perfect for a hot day or after a run.
10/10 cherries.

Vita Coco Coconut water with Pineapple:
To see it being used in a smoothie look here
This is made up of coconut water with pineapple and coconut puree, and some vit c (probably for a natural preservative). It has 25 cals per 100ml, with 6g carbs, and 15mg calcium among other things. This is much nicer than the plain coconut water(it has more flavour), but not as good at the coconut water with mango. I prefer to use it in smoothies now as oppose to having it on its own.
9/10 cherries

Innocent Lemon, Honey and Ginger Smoothie
Refreshing, not too sweet, nice warming kick with the ginger.
Plus you get some seeds for the bees so what’s not to love?

Whitards Spice Imperial Loose Leaf Tea

I am a big fan of tea, but normally have (fairtrade) sainsbury’s black tea. I have tried a few herbal teas, and rooibos tea, but am not keen. I recently discovered chai tea (black tea with spices like cardamon and cinnamon) and saw this in Whitards last week. It is black tea with orange, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves, and it is gorgeous, it smells like christmas and tastes amazing.

10/10 cherries