Hey everyone.

So, what has been going on this week? On Monday I was still a bit stiff after the near 10 mile run on Sunday, and it was lashing down with rain after work, so I was pretty pleased to have a planned rest day!

On Tuesday I only had time for a short run after work (in the wind)- 3 miles done but at a pretty gentle pace. Never mind, I was saving it for Wednesday!

When I left to run up to the shop, it was so windy, and I did think that I could just run around the block- as long as it was over a mile I could count it towards Jantastic, and no-one would know! But as usual I am glad I went. We did the route known as “the hill” (because basically around here it is flat as a pancake, and this route has one short hill at the start)- this is a pretty good one, although there is one very dark patch, so I have to slow down loads. Plus there is an underpass which I hate (because I am a scaredy cat) but this time each time we got to a roundabout the people at the front had to run to the back, so we were together as a group for most of the way. Half a mile from the shop I tried to speed up a bit as I could see some of the fast ones still, and realised they were adding a little loop on! Urgh. In the wind. But I did it, and when I got back I was nearly last, as the people at the actual back had not added on the extra bit, and the guy from the shop said they were saying about how much faster I was getting. That was nice to hear, as I know I am a bit of a plodder. I am terrible at receiving compliments (isn’t everyone?) but I do feel that trying to keep up with the faster people is what has helped me (and I did say that to them).

Cannot work out how to rotate it…

Anyway, I kept my watch going for the run home (but it does not count the run up there as I don’t turn it on then), and I was super pleased to get the 4.5 miles under 10 min mile pacing. So good to be under the double figures 🙂 And good to have another 5+mile run midweek.

And then, look at what came in the post! The pack for the Brighton half! How exciting! I hope the wind dies down a bit though.

Tonight I got to try out the Ultimate Gym Bra, when I went to body pump.

I was kindly sent one to review, but I will at a later date as my brain is a bit tired now.

Tomorrow I plan to have a short run in the evening (after going to get some oil for my car, whoops) and then a long run on Saturday morning. I am aiming for about 11 miles, and then I think probably next weekend I will have a shorter one, maybe 8-10 miles. The week before the half I will be not able to run as much anyway because I have parent meetings one two evenings, so it will enforce a bit of a taper!

Oh, and all the members of Run Blog Bake! Make sure you log on and choose the length of your long runs for Febulous- I have done but I might edit them before the Monday deadline.

Hooray it is nearly Friday!

11 things (thanks Lara)

Hey, gosh the week just flies by doesn’t it? It has been another busy one. After work on Tuesday the pavements didn’t look great, so I went to aerobics instead of a run. Wednesday I had a late meeting, so finally got home after 8pm- missed my Sweatshop run (I knew I would this week) -no way I was going out then! Thursday I went to pump, and Friday I did a short run (3 miles) after work, before the snow. Which never came to anything, I think we just had rain here overnight.

Our neighbours built a snowman and then painted it- although now it looks a lot worse for wear!

This morning I went out for a run before breakfast. My road is just awful now- so much ice. I slipped along a lot, (even walking in the road instead of the pavement was no better) but once I got to the cleared pavements it was fine. 3.4 miles done- 3 out of 4 runs this week, and tomorrow will be my long run.

Not much snow/ ice left outside now, although the street is in the shade and so is much worse.

When I got home I had some coconut water (we were given this in our Ocado order- it was lovely) and a satsuma as soon as I got home as I was quite hungry, and then made breakfast after my shower.

The pancakes were the best ones I have ever made! I made the batter the night before, as they take so long to cook. I think it was 50g pumpkin puree, 20g peanut flour, 20g wholegrain spelt flour, 1tsp baking powder, and some soya milk. I didn’t measure the milk, jut poured it in until it was a batter consistency. I think using the peanut flour with the normal flour made them hold together better.

Yum yum! With an apple cooked in some coconut oil, and mincemeat stirred in. Plus a little chocolate pb. And a teapigs chocolate flake tea.

Right, onto the 11 things. The lovely Lara has tagged me in a blog award, and if I don’t do it right away, I will forget!

The Rules
  1. Each blogger posts 11 random facts about themselves.
  2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, then create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
  3. Choose 11 new bloggers to pass the award to and link them in your post.
  4. Go to their page and tell them about the award.
  5. No tag backs.

So, I have to tell you 11 things about me. I mean, I think I ramble on a lot here, so I am not sure if there is anything new. There must be something.

1. My Grandma was Austrian, so we used to visit the extended family there a lot when I was younger, but I have never been there as an adult.

2. I tried to learn German at school, but we moved and I changed secondary schools, so missed the first 6 months, and never managed to pick it up. This still annoys me as I feel I should be able to speak it.

3. I am terrified of spiders. Especially the big black hairy ones. I try very very hard not to look scared when I come across one at school (don’t want to scare the kids) but I have on occasion leapt onto a table because I thought I saw one. Luckily that was after school, so just colleagues saw me.

4. In fact, the first time I met one of my friends (we met at work) was when she came into my classroom and I was stood on a chair trying to hoover up a giant black spider that was hiding under a cushion in the book corner. Great first impression (although she doesn’t like spiders either).

5. I don’t like alcohol. My parents do, and I have tried all sorts, but never liked the taste. Not even alcoholic chocolates!

6. I lived at home when I went to Uni. At that point I could not drive so the journey was 30 min walk, over an hour on a bus each way- think for a 9am, lecture I had to leave home before 7am. Not sure how I did that!

7. It is 10 years since I passed my driving test (as I only learnt in my final year of uni).

8. I hate long fingernails. They creep me out. I always keep mine short.

9. I love Michael Palin- watching him on TV/ reading his travel books. I love that he is so interested in everyone, and he just has a great thirst for travel and knowledge.

10. I was not allowed to wear jeans when I was little. But it never bothered me as I thought they looked like uncomfortable drain pipes. I bought my first pair when I was about 15 I think, and now I live in them probably 50% of the time!

11. I muddle things if they have the same initial letter. For example when I was younger I confused Berlin with Belfast.

Here are the questions Lara wants me to answer:

1. If you have a middle name what is it?

I have two, because I am super special 🙂  :Catherine Louise
2. What is your first memory of a sporting achievement?

When I was maybe 10, I did a 5 mile run with my Dad and friend. I think I hurt my ankle and didn’t run the entire way. But we had trained for it- we used to go on bike rides a lot, and there was a loop that we would cycle around, and then leave the bikes in the car and then jog around it. Actually, when we got home my little brother (who was about 5) asked us “do you want peas or carrots with dinner” which I found so funny as I was so tired and just wanted to sit down (and he didn’t ask how the run was or anything). I should see if we have a photo somewhere of that…

That was the only running I did as a child though!
3. Cat person or dog person?

I do prefer dogs, but I would never want one as a pet.
4. Diamonds or Pearls?

Accessorize? I think diamonds are pretty, but then if I had something expensive like that I would worry about losing it and stuff.
5. If you could support only one charity which would it be and why?

I think it would probably be a local children’s hospice. I support bigger charities like Cancer Research, but I think the hospice does such great work for the children in need, and as it is not a national one it would get less donations.
6. What is your favourite colour to wear whilst working out?

Black. Other colours show up the sweat too much! So always black bottoms, but I do have coloured tops- my fave is a sort of jade green colour.
7. What are you missing the most …. RIGHT NOW?

The summer!
8. Who snores the most/loudest in your house?

I don’t think either of us snores, but I know I talk a lot in my sleep, and often have conversations that Andy tells me about in the morning, and I can’t remember them at all.
9. Have you ever donated blood?

Yes. I did about 5 times I think (I have the second keyring). I am pretty squeamish, and each time they took the needle out, I fainted. In the end they put on my notes to take less blood, but I still fainted. So I have stopped going now.
10. Cleaning, cooking & ironing … love it or hate it?

I don’t mind cleaning- I find it satisfying, cooking is fine, although when I am tired I don’t always clean up the mess from cooking right away. I never iron. Just hang the clothes up and they dry pretty flat.
11. Do you own home exercise DVDs? If so … how many?

I have the 30 day shred. But that is only for emergencies!

Right, now I have 11 questions:

1. Ideal holiday destination?

2. Favourite weather?

3. Coffee or tea?

4. What magazines do you read?

5. Favourite place to eat out at?

6. Favourite show to see?

7. Would would you order in my cafe? (Bearing in mind I mainly serve tea and baked goods).

8. Do you prefer to exercise alone, or in a class, or with other people?

9. Favourite meal?

10. What is your favourite thing about blogs (writing or reading)?

11. What will do to celebrate your birthday this year?

OK, I am not sure I have 11 blogs that have not already been tagged, so I am going to tag:










And of course if anyone else fancies it, then please feel free. Or just choose one question and answer it.

Snowy weekend, and less than 100%

Yep, I can’t not mention it I am afraid. So I will try to be brief.

Friday evening:

Keeping warm with a hot chocolate (swapped this mug with some smaller ones which are now at work instead). Got a bit of a cold.

Saturday morning:

Pumpkin Pancakes (made with peanut flour so they basically fell apart)-plus cooked apple and some meridian mincemeat- plus teapigs chocolate tea for a late breakfast.

Opening a parcel from the blogging team at for me to use for the blog- giveaways for some of the items will be coming up at some point.

Saturday afternoon:

Making chocolate covered mango with some yummy urban fruit mango.

Eating a lot of the mango while Andy cleared a lot of the parking area outside.

(This was Sunday morning, when the snow started and had begun to cover where he cleared- although you can see a lot of what he cleared...)

I also helped Andy for about half an hour with the sweeping of the snow- we ended up with 3 piles as the area is communal so we have to move it right to the edge so it is not in the way of any of the parking spaces.

Going on a snowy walk (mainly to see the state of the pavements).

Pavements near us were not good!

To be fair, neither was the road.

Frozen pond (usually has fountains running in it too).

Later Saturday afternoon:

Baking a carrot cake (used the recipe from the new Leon book- a pretty healthy recipe, using a little oil- I used hazelnut- plus agave nectar, wholegrain flour, carrots, coconut, spices…).

Saturday night:

Enjoying a slice of the carrot cake (topped with a little icing made with orange juice and icing sugar).

Sunday morning:

Went out on a snowy run. The pavements were OK on Saturday- they had been cleared and gritted, and my cold was loads better, so I decided to do a short run to get my third of the week (so not 100% for week too, boo)- instead of the 10 miles planned. Ah well. It was fun- the snow was coming down while I was running, and I ended up looping around the same bit several times- I ended up running next to my first lot of foot prints so it looked like someone had jumped along with their feet next to each other. It amused me, anyway. That photo was when I got back, and the bit that we cleared on Saturday was covered completely!

Cranberry pecan swirl for breakfast after a shower to warm up.(Yes, I did a lot of baking this weekend!). I used this recipe, but divided it into 9, so I made 2 generous ones.

Sunday evening:

Deep heat on my back- one side was really sore and I can only think it was from sweeping up all the snow on Saturday- pointless as it turned out to be!


Spent the day working as my school was closed (I was very relieved as the roads around here were not gritted)- I usually have planning time on a Monday so I did that at home instead.

Late in the afternoon I needed some fresh air, so I went for a run. The pavements were awful! They seemed to be cleared in short places (the business park by me usually clears them as they have these little mini truck things), but then not in others. So I was jumping over piles of snow, running through inches of slush- my socks were wet through and my feet were freezing by the time I got home. 4 miles was quite enough! Luckily the deep heat can be used on chillblains too. The snow went past my ankles (I don’t think the picture shows it very well)- and more snow below that was compacted! Anyway, at least the roads were clear so driving tomorrow will be fine once I get off my road, as it still is covered in compacted snow and ice.

I also made some foccacia bread (from the Hairy Bakers book) and roasted up some butternut squash and sweet potato, for some soup.

Soup and warm bread = a perfect dinner after a run in the snow.

So, to sum up, my weekend was a bit like my Jantastic team (which are all awesome by the way)- filled with running, baking, and now a long blog!

Bye 🙂

Holiday recap

This is going to be a long one, but it seems some people won’t be going anywhere all weekend, so I figured you would have the time to read it!

Hopefully I will remember it- seems ages ago now!

So, on the Friday we rushed to the airport after work. Luckily the roads were fine, and I was so tired from work that I managed to sleep quite a bit on the plane (I am getting quite good at this now)- by the time we arrived at our hotel in New York it was about 1.30am, so nearly 24 hours since I had got up and gone to work.

But of course we were awake very early- we went for some breakfast, got a hot drink to take with us and had a long walk around Central Park.

Lots of people ice skating.

It was freezing! There was snow in the air, but it was not settling at all.

All the buildings had decorations, and it all felt very festive.

I was most excited to see the big tree at the Rockerfellar centre- so pretty!

We did some shopping- including braving Old Navy- everyone was buying everything it seemed! I think we were in the queue for about half an hour- I was losing patience then! Luckily we had eaten lunch first (we came quite fond of sharing a tomato soup and grilled cheese). We had a little rest in our hotel in the afternoon (needed to warm up) and then out again to see the tree in the evening. It was packed, there was a one way system going, but it looked so pretty all lit up at night.

Lots of other decorations too.

(Andy trying something with a blurry background).

We have been to New York before, but never found great places to eat. I am sure there are loads, and we tried looking on the internet (Trip advisor etc) but didn’t find anything that looked great- either sandwich shops, fast food places or really touristy places, and we found a Wholefoods shop near Central Park, so we went there for dinner. Because they have the hot food bar, and a salad bar, it suited us both. Then we picked up a few bits of food (and water) for our room, including the most amazing mini gingerbread scones (seriously, they were amazing).

The next day we were off to see the Rockettes- we had some of the scones for breakfast (yummy), and then went to see the show.

(It looks better at night, but we went to a morning show).

This was a fab show- I was not sure what to expect- we had tickets last year after (randomly) my hairdresser recommended it to me. I thought it would be mainly dancing, but there was a story (about a mum and girl shopping for Christmas presents)- anyway the dancers were amazing! It was so festive too, with people in the audience wearing santa hats and things- I wish I had packed my Christmas hair band!

After that, we got the underground downtown, first stop, lunch at Peanut Butter and Co! Although we didn’t take any photos of us there. It was a lovely tiny cafe, with so many options. In the end I went for a very sweet sandwich with chocolate pb, cherry preserves and coconut (served with a little bag of crisps- that salt was needed, and some carrot sticks for health!). They also let you choose your tea bag, (I had vanilla) and the mugs were massive. We bought a few bits in there- Andy liked the sound of the spicy pb.

We are going to recreate some of these at home for sure.

Then we got the subway again, all the way to the World Trade Centre site. We didn’t realise we would need a ticket for the memorial gardens, so once we had that we had a couple of hours to spare before going through all the security.

The new building is well on its way.

So we had a walk around by the water (Statue of Liberty in the distance) and then warmed up in a Starbucks again.

We had to go through security to enter the gardens, luckily this was inside as I didn’t fancy taking my coat off outside.

The gardens have been done really well I think. The waterfalls in the footprints of the two buildings are really beautiful, and it was a very peaceful and reflective place.

I still found it strange to see people posing for photos in front of it and things though (like when we went to Pearl Harbour in the summer).

Anyway, after that we went to the Rockerfellar centre- that is the best building to go up in New York, because you get the best views of the Empire State Building, Central Park etc.

Lit up with Christmas colours!

The glow from Times Square. Andy must have been out there for a good 45 mins in the end- after a while I went to wait inside as it was so cold up there!

On Christmas Eve we had to catch a train before 7am, up to Boston. The train ride was so pretty- sometimes train tracks are in little valleys and are pretty boring, but this one went past town after town of pretty wooden houses, the sea, lovely countryside- very picturesque.

Luckily by the time we arrived we could check in to our hotel, so we left our bags and then went on a hunt for some lunch.

We were within walking distance of Quincy Market, so we had a look there, although nothing appealed so in the end we found a lovely sandwich shop and went there instead.

Then we were off to get the subway to the Boston Pops!

This was brilliant, my favourite show of the holiday. The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra play lots of Christmas carols and songs, and a choir sing along, and it is just amazing. They did the most amazing version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, with each verse sung in a different style and different tune (eg 5 gold rings was with Bethoven’s 5th Symphony)- it was fantastic.

We had no idea what we would do for dinner, but came across a Cheesecake Factory pretty near the concert hall, so we went there. I love their guacamole so much (but you do get a mountain of it), so we had that to share for starters, and then I had a lovely salad with goats cheese and pecans and beetroot and things. Tasty, and it meant I saved room for dessert! They had a holiday special one, which was basically chocolate and peppermint, so we shared it.

Yummy! We walked back as we needed it after that!

On Christmas morning we woke up to snow! Lots had come down, and it was still going first thing. Our hotel had pastries and tea in the restaurant, so we had that, and then a skye call to Andy’s family. Then we wrapped up warm and headed out. It was the coldest day of our holiday. We wanted to do the Freedom Trail, as we thought most things would be closed on Christmas day, and of course it is all outside (although you have to follow a red line/ brick path on the pavement- not so easy in the snow).

There was lots of snow still in the park, but most of it had gone from the pavements.

In the afternoon we went back to our hotel (again with a Starbucks- there were some open on Christmas day) to warm up, before heading out for some dinner. We had originally booked a dinner, because the sample menu  looked like it would cater for vegetarians, but when we looked online the night before, there were starter salads and that was all (which would be fine, but it was a set menu and pretty expensive), so in the end we cancelled that, and went for a pizza. Then we went to see Django Unchained (which was really good, and jam packed)- I rather overheated in the cinema as I had 2 thermal tops on! It still makes me chuckle that Americans always clap when a film ends.

On Boxing day we walked around a bit more, did some shopping (bought some bargains in Bath & Bodyworks) and then went to see the Nutcracker. I was not sure what to expect, having never seen a ballet before, but actually I quite enjoyed it too. The different styles of dancing were really good, and I always enjoy listening to the orchestra playing.

Then we had to get our bags and head to the bus station, as we were getting the bus back to New York that evening.

I managed to fall asleep, and when I woke up I was shocked to see a lot of snow. We were about an hour behind schedule, which is not bad considering how much the roads were covered.

This was taken at the rest stop. Luckily after that, we saw snow ploughs and gritters go out, and they managed to clear the roads, and in the end didn’t get to New York too late. By the time we got there, it was just torrential rain (such fun wheeling our cases through the street rivers).

We spent our last day walking around Central Park and doing a bit of shopping:

And also having a Starbucks to warm up. I think we had one nearly every day/

We went for dinner at Wholefoods again, and then we had to get the bus to the airport (although the bus we had booked just didn’t turn up, so in the end the company took us and the other passengers in a little mini van- cutting it quite fine to get there on time!). I managed to sleep most of the way home (the magic combination seems to be noise cancelling headphones + sleeping tablet – only the ones that make you drowsy, not the prescription ones,+ don’t eat the food on the plane).

If I were to sum this holiday up, it would be like this:

Gingerbread scones, Wholefoods dinners, Starbucks chai lattes ( peppermint hot chocolate), thermal tops, big boots, lots of walking, lots of Christmas trees, and fun shows.

Or I could do it with a song?

(To the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas)

On my fab Christmas holiday I managed to include:

12 miles of walking

11 thermal tops worn

10 gingerbread scones munched

9 bottles of water drunk

8 thousand miles flown

7 souvenirs bought

6 chai tea lattes

5 Wholefood dinners….

4 hours in Old Navy

3 fab shows

2 cities visited

And I managed to see The Christmas Tree!

Disclaimer- some numbers in the song may be estimated

Two Minute Movers

Hey all

I am sure you have seen this pop up on other blogs before, but if not enjoy! I was contacted by Quaker Oats who are running a campaign to help people along with their new years resolutions.

They have made some little video clips (they can all be found here) with Mr Motivator (remember him???) and Denise van Outen- the idea is you can do them while your porridge cooks (although my porridge takes 2.20 in the microwave). He does the tougher moves and she does them slightly modified (eg knees on the floor for the plank) which means most people could have a go at them.

I was having a look at some of the other ones. The plank challenge looks super tough, although something that I should start doing a bit more often- I usually only do these at pump and when I go to aerobics. The push ups look good too- you could if you wanted to join them up I suppose for a strength workout at home.

Apparently most people break their resulutions within the first few weeks, so something fun like this is a great boost if your motivation is flagging.

Talking of motivation, mine is still going strong for Jantastic. Apparently our blogging team got a mention in this week’s show! How exciting! And well done all those team members! Just hope we can all find somewhere to run this weekend what with all the snow forecast.

How do you stay motivated?