Final long run

So after last weekends Parkrun and long run (10.3 miles) I was pretty tired. It took me 1.49 which I was pretty pleased with- ideally I would run faster in the race than I have done in training. I kept Monday as a rest day, and had an epsom salts bath to help.

On Tuesday I went on a short 4 miler (no blackberry picking this time as I got home quite late and it was getting dark by the end of my run), and I felt fairly slow (although it was a faster pace than my long run), so this was more like a recovery run.

It must have helped because for the Sweatshop run on Wednesday I has to race up there as I got home 5 minutes after I usually leave. It was a slightly longer route than usual but I managed to keep a 9.13 average pace which isn’t bad seeing as I run up there and run home too.

I went to Pump on Thursday (the instructor has been away for the last 2 weeks) and I knew it would be tough. I was aching like mad on Friday so opted for a gentle 2 mile walk before dinner instead of a run.

Yesterday when I woke up I had a gingerbread nakd bar, pottered about for a bit and then headed out. I was expecting showers and cooler weather, but it was muggy and humid and the sun kept coming out which made it really tough. I was slower than last week but that was due to a combination of being stiff from pump, and the humid air getting to me.

Pancakes for brunch are my favourite and I am still going through my first box of the Orgran buckwheat ones. I had them with a huge apple (from my apple tree!) cooked in a little coconut oil, coconut sugar and cinnamon, a little cinnamon and raisin pb, and a little vanilla maple syrup. I was so thirsty. As soon as I got home I had some water, then some coconut water, and then after my shower with my pancakes I had a nuun tab in some water, plus a vanilla chai tea. My headband (which I just use to keep the hair out of my eyes) could have been wrung out.

I had a delivery of some soya milks to try out for the blog- I used the regular one in my tea and it passed the first test (no curdling).

After some work, some housework and more pottering I headed out to the shops.

I ended up buying a lot of tea related things. I was looking for the char-brew tea I had seen on Laura’s blog (I have bought the tropical rooibos tea from Sainsbury’s before) but I could not find it. While I was perusing the shelves I found an earl grey latte, some concentrated peach juice to add to hot water (I am going to add it to normal black tea to see how that goes), gingerbread syrup (my fave- I had some from Whittards last year and it is so good- just for putting on pancakes or cooking fruit in), cinnamon tea to take to work, and peppermint tea as I was running low.

Then I made a chocolate cake as it is Andy’s mums birthday today.

This was my attempt at making lilies to top the cake with.

Not too bad for a first attempt, especially as I didn’t have the proper cones to put the lilies on to dry.

A friend has asked for some lilies to top a wedding anniversary cake, so I have ordered some proper cutters (and also flower sugar paste, which I then found in Sainsbury’s but I had already ordered it by then) so will have another practise with the real things later on.

My legs are not feeling too bad today- this week I am going to take my runs a bit easier, and probably have my last run on Friday so I am rested for Sunday.

Midweek nights out

Last week we headed for a meal out at the new Giraffe in Watford. Through the Buzz Agent website I was sent a 30% off coupon.

First up, you all know how much I love tea, so I was excited to try their new iced tea concoction. They used to do one with Teapigs superfruits tea, but this one was “Sunshine Coast Iced tea”- chamomile & green tea with mango, lime and fresh mint. Fab! Andy tried the Coco Nutty Iced coffee, which was iced coffee with chocolate and coconut (in case you could not work that out).

We shared the bruschetta to start with, although it ended up being very cheese laden and more like an American pizza- I wouldn’t choose it again. I liked the different vegetable toppings but it was too cheesy and garlicy for me.

My main was a roasted veggie and black bean burrito, with a lime dressing on the salad. It was good, but again really cheesy- there was cheese inside and on the top.

Andy was going to have a burger, but apparently it was “burger Tuesday” which meant they were cheap anyway, and so we could not use the voucher (not even on the rest of the food- I see why we couldn’t use it on the burger)- poor Andy went for ribs instead!

On Wednesday after running club we went to the cinema, and then on Thursday we went out after I got my hair cut. I am not sure how I managed to do all of that (although it did mean catching up on some work at 10.30pm when we got back from the cinema- not ideal). This week I have barely managed to get to running club (got home at 5.55pm and usually I leave at ten to 6!) – I rushed up there and only just made it on time (and if I was late there would be no way I could catch them up), and tonight I made it to pump with seconds to spare!

I do love going out on a school night- it makes the week seem quicker, and it is nice to get out and break the normal routine. Although by Friday I was shattered!

Are you a fan of week-night nights out?

Nutribox sport review and long run day

My word that Parkrun tired me out yesterday! I was feeling good and decided that as I had not been to pump on Thursday, or run on the Friday I should try and see how fast I could go. I looked on the Lucozade website (they create free pacer bands) just to see what sort of speed I should be aiming for- I think I put in 27 minutes even and I had to aim for 8.41 pace. I ended up starting right at the back as I was chatting to one of the girls from Sweatshop (she was running with a dog so was at the back)- the start took me by surprise and I felt like I spent a long time weaving in and out of people. A few times I got stuck behind a couple of slightly slower runners, and had to wait as the path can be narrow in places. I glanced at my watch a couple of times- the first time I was doing 9.09 so a bit too slow, but then a bit later I was 8-something. After the second mile I flipped my watch around so I could not see the screen, as often if I think I am going fast all the adrenaline starts going, which then makes me feel drained, and I end up really slowing. I got overtaken on the final stretch to the finish line, so I wasn’t holding out much hope, but once I had crossed the line I stopped my watch and was amazed to see 26.48 on there. I kept my fingers crossed that it was close to my recorded time. I was so excited to get the text at lunch time to say I had indeed got a new pb- 26.50 (by 22 seconds!)! I was not sure it was possible for me to go that fast!

Breakfast- Orgran buckwheat pancakes made speedily with their egg replacer, apple cooked in coconut oil and sugar, vanilla chai and some chocolate coconut water which was weird.

After heading home, shower and breakfast I had a few hours of work to do. I then did some housework (which I think is good as it keeps me moving), popped to the shops as we are replacing the blinds in our living room, and made an apple cake.

These are apples from my garden! There are a few more left on the tree too.

I was shattered! After dinner we watched A Winter’s Bone which was more heavy going than I had expected, but I needed to chill out!

This morning I was awake early again, and pottered around for a bit- I downloaded the newest marathon talk podcast, and had a nakd gingerbread bar instead of the dates I have been having for a pre-run snack. I even pre-planned my route, which is something I have not done in a while!

It seemed quite mild so I went for a vest again, and that was fine but when I got out of the door it was drizzling- that wasn’t forecast! I went back in to fetch my tennis visor, and headed out. A few minutes later I heard my comment being read out on marathon talk, and they had a bit of a field day with my tennis visor- should I call it something else? It’s not a baseball hat!

Anyway, the ten miles went fine and although I felt pretty tired by the end that is to be expected I suppose! I had the same pancakes for breakfast, only this time I used an egg instead of the egg replacer- partly because I had loads of eggs but also because I was very very hungry.

So, onto the Nutribox Sports Nutrition box review.

I was kindly sent this box in exchange for a review, and I have been loving it. These sort of snack box delivery services seem to be taking off, and I can see the appeal. In case you are not familiar with them you sign up to receive either a large box (containing 16-20 snacks) or a small box (with 8-10 snacks) and they will deliver the selection to you each month. They are all gluten free, and you can select a vegan option too. They say that the retail value would usually exceed the price of the box too. You can look at previous months’ boxes to get an idea of the sorts of things that would be included but it does seem good value- those Bounce balls are usually close to £2 each.

Love those coconut Bounce balls.

The Sports Nutrition Box aims to include items with good amounts of protein, carbohydrate and healthy fats (but no trans fats). I loved the variety in the box. If I visit a health food shop (or Wholefoods) I will be tempted by new cereal bars and I liked the range included in the box. I had already tried and loved the coconut and macadamia Bounce ball, but all the other products were new to me.

There were some favourites (the beond bar/ Bounce bar/ Pulsin’ raw chocolate brownie), some I enjoyed but I am not sure I would go out of my way to find them again (the creative nature seed bar/ peanut Bounce ball/ the salad topper seed mix) and ones I didn’t enjoy that much (the Pulsin’ maple and peanut protein bar had a chalky texture, and I am not a massive fan of dried apricots so the Turkish delight mix – apricots, dates, brazil nuts- was not for me).

The element of surprise is great too- it was exciting to open it up and see what was included.

If you are tempted by it, they have set up a discount code: RUNNINGCUPCAKES which will get you 35% off your first box- not a bad deal.

What should I call my tennis visor??

Have you tried or would you be tempted by a snack delivery service like this?

Did you have a good run/ workout this weekend?

My week in cake

Gosh this week has been busy! There has also been a lot of cake. And also lots of blackberries. On Monday after work I went out on a run- I got home later than planned and so was going to do a shorter route, but when I got near the fields I decided to do the loop there as soon it will be dark and I like to get away from the traffic. After 3 and a half miles I passed the most enormous blackberry bush patch, and remembered that I had a bag in my little belt to waterproof my phone (left over from my weekend run). So I stopped for about ten minutes and picked some. Ended up with a big scratch down the back of one of my legs, but the berries are worth it! Although I had to run the last mile home carrying it and I am pretty sure it looked like I was carrying something else …

On Tuesday night we went out for dinner as there is a new Giraffe and we had a discount coupon (from the Buzz website). We also had a voucher for the new Euphorium bakery in Tesco so when I got home I had some carrot cake (half that slice as it was huge!).

The voucher was for a small cake (!) and a pastry, so I chose an almond croissant and had it for breakfast on Wednesday (plus mango and a vanilla chai tea). I warmed it in the microwave for a little bit, and it was lovely, such a treat to have that on a workday. I thought I might be really hungry later on, but I was fine until lunch (probably all the fat helped to keep it filling).

On Wednesday evening the Sweatshop run went across the fields too. I was home late and didn’t think I would make it, but I did, and a run in the fresh air was just the perfect way to get a big smile on my face. Then after dinner we headed to the cinema to see “In a World” (a comedy about a girl trying to be a voice over artist for film adverts)- I really enjoyed it.

On Thursday I had my hair cut (I thought pump was cancelled as the instructor was away, but I found out on the day they had a replacement- too late to cancel and my hair needed it!), rushed home for a quick dinner (I bought a cous cous and roasted veggie salad from Waitrose and had it with some salad, tomatoes and hummus as I knew I wouldn’t have time to cook) and then had my nanaimo bar from the cake show. It was lovely- a coconut base, a sort of vanilla filling, and chocolate topping, But it was very rich so I shared it with Andy. Then we were off to the cinema again, this time to see Rush which was brilliant. The cinema was packed which I didn’t expect for a Thursday night.

Yesterday was a cake free day- well needed after all of that! I went to see my Nan, and then spent the evening at home listening to the film podcast and relaxing.

Right, I had better get ready for Parkrun this morning! Have a great Saturday folks!

What is your favourite cake?

Cake and Bake show!

Hey peeps, I hope you all had a lovely Sunday.

I was off early this morning (well, early for a Sunday) to go to the Cake and Bake show in London, as I had been sent some tickets from Sainsbury’s.

We arrived as it opened so had time to wander around and marvel at the beautiful cakes on offer before it got too busy.

I could have bought piles of cakes!

I also loved this Toy Story themed cake on the Disney stand- loved how all the aliens were a little bit different.

There was a Clandestine Cake Club stand, and I had found out the night before that one of my friends was submitting a cake so I had to pop by and see the cakes (and managed to see her too). Now I am tempted to sign up as there is one local to me, although I need to look through the website a bit first I think.

One of the first stands we visited was for Devilishly Good Brownies– and the samples we tried (a vanilla/sea-salt one) were amazing so we revisited it later to buy lunch. I bought a chocolate orange one which was amazing (we had a brownie each for lunch and enjoyed a little sit down), and I bought a pb and coconut one (the offer was to buy 3 you see….) for another day.

My friends pointed out a tea stand to me- that was a mistake! The Alison Appleton stand had some little glass bottles filled with loose leaf tea to smell (as samples) and the lady was even boiling her fancy kettle to make up some Earl Grey, which I sampled. I couldn’t resist the black tea with caramel, and again there was an offer if you bought three so I ended up with Earl Grey (smells amazing), Gentleman’s Toffee (black tea with caramel drops) and Marie Antoinette’s tea (black tea with ginger, rose, cardamom and ginger).

I fell in love with those cups on sale too, so have added them to my collection. They did have a beautiful teapot but it was £55 which is a bit out of my teapot budget! I also bought a vegan nanaimo slice from Ms Cupcake– I have seen these on Oh She Glows and they look lovely so I have saved it for another day.

They had goody bags for sale, so we each ended up buying one. I wanted one mainly for the booklet and the bag (I am a sucker for a bag) but I wasn’t that impressed with the contents.

It contained the guide (which has recipes and things as well as the map), a lime drink, a few money off vouchers and some cake mix. I think cake mixes are OK if you are in a hurry, but it seemed a strange thing to have in the bag seeing as most people going to the show would be making their own cakes, so something like cake ingredients, decorating tools or even some interesting flour/ sugar would have been better in my opinion!

I also bought a copy of the Sainsbury’s magazine (as it was only £1), some cherry flavouring (have been looking for some for ages), some ready coloured icing in Christmas colours, and a gorgeous cake stand. The stall (they have a facebook page if you fancy a look) had loads of plates of various sizes with holes drilled in them, and then you could select 2 or 3 plates and make your own stand. A really pretty blue and white stand caught my eye, and I was trying to find plates that matched it when the lady told me I could buy any of the display ones too, so I was sold! I have not put it together yet but you can see the three plates I chose- so pretty!

We ended up walking around for over 4 hours! It was so busy by the time we left so I was glad we had turned up early.

By the time I got home the brownie for lunch had worn off, so I made some toast with avocado and tomato- I needed something quick!

I have spent the rest of the afternoon/ evening watching the GNR (the end was so exciting!) and reminiscing about last year. (For newish readers- at the end of 2011 I was quite poorly and admitted to hospital, and it turned out I had a massive cyst on one of my ovaries that had to be removed, so I was not allowed to do any exercise before the op in case it twisted/ ruptured, and then was only allowed to start running again in May 2012) I ran the GNR last year for charity, and it was my “comeback” race. I was so nervous and even had some tears in the starter pen as I was so worried that I would not be able to finish it, and it sort of put the operation and hospital visits behind me as I proved to myself that I could do these things again. Anyway, watching it this afternoon has brought back those memories and it is nice to think that those times are well and truly behind me now.

I love watching things like this though. I love seeing all the charity runners, and the end of the men’s race was so exciting! I was trying not to find out what happened, and had accidentally seen it on facebook, but then in the last minute I thought I must have read it wrong because it was such a close finish!

Anyone joined the Clandestine Cake Club? Did you enjoy watching the GNR today? 

I was sent tickets to the show as I am part of the Sainsbury’s blogger network, but I was not asked to review it or anything- I just wanted to blog about it.