Loving the summer!

Hey peeps!

I hope you are all having a lovely summer. I cannot believe that nearly two weeks have passed- time flies! Plus I have managed to fit so much in to the last few weeks- I am sure I am even busier in the holidays than when I am at work.

I can’t even remember this week! Monday was a 6 mile run before breakfast (again, slow and not great- my legs just don’t like Mondays for some reason), working at home, a walk to the shops, and I even managed to watch some Olympics.

Tuesday I went to London for the day!

Me and a friend had tickets for Buckingham Palace, which was great, but no photos were allowed inside the palace- boo! We looked around (they give you headphones which makes it more interesting I think), we popped out for a quick lunch (yummy hummus salad wrap and peach iced tea from Pret) and then went back as we had timed tickets for the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition- that was also very interesting (and I could have taken pictures but didn’t, whoops).  Later on we went to the Mews (where they kept horses but now keep carriages) and you could take pictures there, and I actually did.

I liked the car- the Queen can stand up in it before she has to get out- very handy.

At one point there were loads of little carts- I liked this one (goat cart) the best.

This carriage is wooden, and several hundred years old. I thought they only had one carriage, but no, there are loads.

After that we wandered over to Hyde Park, as we knew they had big TV screens up. It was more of a faff than we realised, because you had to go in certain entrances (some were exit only) and be searched. But when we got there the equestrian team were getting their medals, so we watched that for a bit. We were hoping to see the gymnastics team, but none of the screens showed it, so after a bit we decided to go and have an early dinner.

We saw quite a few of the mascots in different places.

Quite cool 🙂

Then we went to a fab vegetarian cafe, Mildreds. (My friend had been there before with a friend of hers that is veggie, and she thought I would like it). It was fab- so fresh. I had a mountain of a salad in the end- grated carrot, fennel, apple, salad leaves, fennel seeds, pumpkin seeds, sultanas, probably other stuff too, oh and goats cheese. Yum.

We must have walked miles, so I was pretty tired by the time we got home!

On Wednesday I went into work for the morning, and then went out for lunch with some friends from work (waffle house- yummy hummus and avocado one again). I had to pop to the cinema on my way home to pick up tickets, then went on my Sweatshop run – we did a slightly longer route (3.5 miles in 35 mins- quite quick), so with that and running there and back it ended up being 5 miles. Then after a quick shower and dinner we went to see Batman.

This morning I had a short run (30 mins, just under 3 miles), had a haircut, did some shopping (got 3 tops and a jumper in the Debenhams sale, all for £40), then went out for lunch (Waffle house again- Banoffee waffle this time) with some other friends! I love that place. Then I was off to Body Pump (might be my last one before holiday- it was fab), and tomorrow I have a wedding to go to. I feel like I don’t waste the holidays. Plus more medals for team GB- woo!

I have taken some random photos of foods this week:

A yummy peach melba breakfast- nectarine (nearly a peach), raspberries, muesli and almond milk, with a little pb on top. I think that was a post run breakfast, and it was amazing. I have not had much luck with nectarines recently, but these ones are amazing- perfect ripeness.

A yummy salad of spinach, tomatoes, peppers, beetroot, basil tofu and watermelon.

Wedding cake (this must have been last week!), fig and strawberries.

A tasty quick lunch of pitta, hummus, pepper and avocado (I got some super cheap from Aldi). Plus iced mint tea.

Toasted tea bread, lime curd/ hotel chocolat pb spread, plus apple.

I also made some more tea bread- I took out 100ml of water, and added in half a can of pumpkin puree, plus ginger, cinnamon and cloves. It has come out super moist- more like a pudding, but it still slices really well, and is lovely (esp with pb spread on it).

Right, I am off to catch up on the Olympics from today- have a fab weekend everyone!

Are you busier on days off or at work?

Are you going to the Olympics?

Olympic fever and garden delights

Hey peeps!

I am sure you are all glued to your TV’s right now, enjoying all the sports on offer. I have been loving it! I have never watched an opening ceremony before, and just put it on for a bit to see what it was like, and ended up watching the entire show. One channel was showing it without the commentary which was so much better- we did turn it over for a bit, but the chatter was so inane we quickly went back to the other feed. I did wonder if it would be a bit too arty, but I just enjoyed it all- the fireworks, the dancing, the music, the little cultural references sneaked in (like the most famous weather forecast ever!)- it just showed how fab Britain is. I was so pleased to see Beckham involved, as I think he has turned into a fantastic role model for younger athletes, and actually is proud to play and work for his country (and not just rake in the money like most footballers), plus he was involved with the bid, and I loved that they nominated up and coming athletes to finish the final part of the torch. I also though that London looked amazing, especially at night all lit up. It is a city with so many brilliant landmarks, impressive buildings (historic and modern), lovely parks, and the fireworks helped to showcase that I thought.

After a 5 mile run, a walk to the shops and some work on Friday, I chilled out in the afternoon by painting my nails (Primrose Hill Picnic– what a pretty name) whilst watching The Spirit of the Marathon- it got me into the mood for the opening ceremony I suppose.

I also made some rosemary foccacia from my Lorraine Pascale book.

I was a bit worried that it was too brown, but it was soft on the inside still.

(Mine was so much darker than the photograph)

As well as picking rosemary, I picked some fresh mint, and had it in mint tea, and also with pineapple and watermelon.

So refreshing 🙂

On Saturday morning, I had my longest run this year (since the Great South Run in October I think)- just over 10 miles. It was not quite as hot as it had been, which I was grateful for. I also turned my Garmin around so that I could not see the screen any more- that seemed to help a lot because I have been getting into the habit of thinking about how far I have to go, which makes me feel more tired. I want to run on feel really, especially on those longer runs. It took me about 1 hour 55 I think, which is not bad seeing as the GSR took me 1hr 50, and in March I could not even walk half a mile! I am sure I have said this before but I am not going to worry about a time, I just want to enjoy the experience, but going these longer distances does give me some confidence.

I had a delicious breakfast waiting for me- raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackcurrants all from the garden and allotment, alongside muesli, hazelnut milk, chia seeds, and a little drippy pb on top.

I have also been loving coconut water to rehydrate- it is just so refreshing, although I cannot find the mango stuff at the moment, which is my fave flavour.

Earlier in the week, I finally received one of these:

I think I had to use my Starbucks card 15 times to earn one, but now Andy has a card too, that counts towards the total too (basically the reward scheme is on visits and not per item, so you are better to have separate cards linked to the same account if that makes sense). I used to buy both our drinks on my card, which would earn one star, but now if we buy them on our own cards, we get 2 stars.

We had opticians appointments, so as a post-run treat, and a pre-opticians treat (I hate things like that) we went to Starbucks. As it was warm I got a soya chai tea latte, only iced. It was delicious (Andy had one too and liked it, but decided that it is not as good value because they fill it up with ice haha!). We shared a cinnamon roll- reading my GSR recap it seems that I need a cinnamon roll after running 10 miles!

Then this morning started with more garden produce:

I really fancied pancakes, so made up a quick batch with wholegrain spelt flour, hazelnut milk, apple sauce and coconut (random, but it worked). While they were cooking I made a sauce with blueberries and blackcurrants (from the garden), in a little water, with a tsp coconut sugar. The mix was only small (I think 40g flour or something) but it made a pancake mountain! I also had some hotel chocolat chocolate peanut smudge sauce (but it is not as nice as Dark Chocolate Dreams)- the fruity sauce was the best bit though- delicious.

After that I have been mainly relaxing- I thought my legs would be more tired, but they have been OK. We watched the Grand Prix, and a lot of the women’s road race (such an exciting finish!)- then we had a walk, and got back seconds before it poured with rain.

I am off for another fix of the Olympics- what sports have you enjoyed watching? 

Many recipes

Hey peeps

I know I keep going on about it, but I cannot believe how fantastic the weather has been these last few days- just in time. Normally it is lovely right until the schools break up, so I am enjoying every second.

Last week I picked a load of blackcurrants from our garden- I made some of them into a cheesecake, but I still had a massive bowl left (I would estimate at least 400g, as they filled a pasta bowl- much more than the little punnets you can buy in the shops anyway).

I was going to make some jam, but I mentioned it to someone who suggested blackcurrant ice cream- what a fab idea. I have a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream book (and I must say, the peanut butter ice cream from that book is divine) so I flipped through for ideas. They had lots of fruity ones, and also a coconut one which caught my eye, so I combined a few recipes to make my own. They have different base mixes, one with raw eggs (which scares me, so I never use that one), and one has condensed milk and cream. They suggested to add coconut cream to the normal base, but I decided to replace the cream with coconut milk, to add to the coconut flavour.

400g blackcurrants (approx)

1/2 cup water

2 tbs coconut sugar

1 can light condensed milk

1 can coconut milk

1 mini can coconut cream (I used the Waitrose essentials one)

50g dessicated coconut

First up, I cooked the blackcurrants- I put them in a pan with a little water (probably 1/2 cup), added a couple of tbs of coconut sugar, and heated until the berries burst and it looked a beautiful purple colour.

While this was going on, I toasted the dessicated coconut on a tray in the oven, for probably just less than ten minutes.

Then in a jug I mixed the condensed milk with the coconut milk. Now I have never used canned coconut milk (or cream) before- mine seemed to have separated into milk and oil, so I just used the milk but (from both cans), but I am sure you could use it all??

Then I added the blackcurrant mixture and the toasted coconut to the base.

Wow- purple!

This was then poured into my ice cream maker. I don’t think I had frozen the bowl for long enough, plus it was a warm day, so the ice cream did not go as thick as usual.

But once it was done I put it into some tubs for the freezer, and it firmed up further.

It was delicious- I think blackcurrants go really well with something creamy as they are a bit tart, so the coconut ice cream base was lovely. I would like to replace the condensed milk too, but I am not sure what with- I am wondering if using plain yoghurt might be nice.

Next up, tea bread!

I saw that Phil had made the most amazing looking tea bread, and I could not wait to try it. Look here for her fantastic recipe. Hers had sultana and coconut, but I swapped in raisins as that is what I had (I am sure it is basically the same). I am already thinking up other variations as it worked so well.

I made mine with:

400ml Earl Grey tea (2 teabags), 1 cup self raising white flour, 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 cups raisins, 1/2 cup coconut, a little lemon zest, cinnamon and 2 eggs.

Any recipe which has dried fruit being soaked is already a winner in my book- I love how they plump up so much. Here are my raisins soaking in Earl grey- how civilised.

There is the mixing bowl- super easy- just mix it all together.

I could not wait to try it warm from the oven- it was amazing!

Lime curd went very well with the earl grey I feel. I have also enjoyed it toasted for lunch. It holds together so well- and considering it has no butter/ oil, and no sugar in there, it is very flavourful indeed. I am thinking of adding in some pumpkin puree next time for a pumpkin tea-bread.

Finally, some cookies:

All ready for a chocolate-free girly meet-up. I used the ever reliable Millie’s cookies recipe, and replaced the 200g chocolate chips with 100g butterscotch chips and 100g peanut butter chips (both from American Soda).

They have turned out well, but the butterscotch chips have a very strong flavour and almost overpower the peanut chips a little. Next time I would use less (say 50g) butterscotch chips, and more peanut ones.

Phew, that is enough recipes for now. I am off to body pump later (and guess how many people turned up to the Sweatshop run yesterday? 3! Three! ) and hoping that the air-con actually works.

What is the best recipe you have tried lately?

Groupon Winner!


Just a quick post for me to announce the winner of the £20 Groupon voucher giveaway from last week.

Names on paper, folded up, and Andy picked…


How exciting! If you can email me with your email, then I can email you the voucher. That is a lot of the word email in one sentence.

In other news, I have been eating a lot of watermelon. Yum. I bought one because it has been so hot and I find them so refreshing- like eating sorbet.

I also went on a run on Monday when I got home from work – that was not a good idea. I was baking when I got home from work, so decided to take it slow. I did manage 15 min run, 1 min walk, but the next 15 min run was so hard and I felt quite sick. Yuck. For the last few minutes I was basically thinking about how I didn’t want to have to admit to not managing it on my blog! Plus I knew I did it last week at the Sweatshop club, so I knew I was capable. But when I got home I was so hot- dripping in sweat- it was even coming out of between my fingers. I should have gone later in the evening, but because we are having stuff done to the bathroom it was then or never (and I think I should have chosen a walk instead). And after I thought I had sorted out my shoes, my foot went numb again right at the end. I am sure I am still tying the laces up too tightly, as I used to get it occasionally in my old shoes, but it is getting annoying now. I think I might have to undo the laces and start all over again.

A super Sunday

Well after the boring-ness of Saturday, it was good to have a lovely Sunday.

I woke up bright and early, and went out for a run before it got too hot. I was in two minds over what to do (whether to follow my plan or to run it all, seeing as I managed to run on Wednesday without walking at all) but in the end I kept the walk breaks in. I need to be increasing the distance of these weekend runs especially, as I am doing the GNR (a half marathon) in September and I am sure it will come around quickly! So I went for a longer route- 3.5 miles, and had a few minute breaks after each ten min run. I think from now on I am going to add a little more to the weekend run, and if I need them keep the walk breaks in for the next few weeks at least, so that I am used to covering longer distances before I get rid of them. My midweek runs I will keep a bit shorter, and the Wednesday one especially will be a little faster which I think will be good for me. That is the plan for now anyway.

I had put some nuun in the fridge before I left, and boy did I need it when I got home! Despite drinking a glass of water before I went out I was super thirsty when I got home.

Although not quite as red as I thought I would be! (this was no-where near my colour on Wednesday evening!). Loving my Thoosa vest and my Bondi band.

After a cold bath (although hopefully later this week I will be able to use our new shower) I had a very summery breakfast.

Fresh mango, blueberries and some tropical alpro yoghurt. So delicious.

I had some housework to do (I don’t mind doing that) but no actual work! And also made some cookies for Andy’s parents- I used the trusted recipe but added in 50g chopped dried mango, 50g chopped brazil nuts and 20g dessicated coconut. I then sprinkled them with coconut before they went in the oven. I also used coconut sugar in place of regular sugar and that seemed to work well.

Totally tropical 🙂

We were planning on watching the Grand Prix a bit later, but Andy was busy painting the bathroom, so I went to sit in the garden. It was bliss.

I had made myself a jug of iced mint tea, so I took some out there with me. It was so easy to make- boil the kettle, pour over a teabag in a small cup, let it sit for ages (the longer it steeps, the stronger the tea), then remove the teabag, pour into a jug and top with water. You could add lemon/fresh mint leaves etc. I made it on Saturday night and so by Sunday it was lovely and cool, and really refreshing too.

I sat out there in the shade, reading magazines, drinking the tea, and eating a gourmet raw brownie (a coconut/banana one).

Everything was just coming to life in the garden- there are loads of tiny apples on the tree, and the blackcurrant bush is leaving with green berries 🙂

It was such a wonderful way to totally relax and chill out.

The rest of the day was spent watching the race, and then sitting in Andy’s parents garden- so relaxing to be outside 🙂

How are you all planning on spending the 4 day weekend later this week? Fingers crossed for the weather staying this good!

And don’t forget to enter my Groupon voucher giveaway. 🙂