The Homewares Company

Hey folks,

I am writing a post today in collaboration with The Homewares Company, who have some lovely looking kitchen equipment and appliances on their website.

I am a sucker for new gadgets, even though we don’t really have space in our kitchen for what we have, let alone any more. The other day I was ordering some bits from M&S (thermal tops- that’s how I roll) and got distracted by the Homeware section (they had a mini cake stand on offer, but luckily I stayed strong and didn’t add it to my order).

The Homewares Company have a lot of durable kitchen ware on their website. Some of my top picks include this gorgeous cake tin: You can never have too many cake tins!

Typhoon Vintage Kitchen Blue Cake Tin

These cute pinch pots: (Think I would use them for different spices and maybe some pretty pink salt)

Typhoon Ching Pinch Pots; Set of 4

And best of all, this pretty teapot with infuser: Perfect for loose leaf tea.

Typhoon Ching Teapot With Infuser Open Lid

Seriously how pretty is that? Although Andy would be rather cross if I bought another teapot as we have about 6 I think. Excessive I suppose, but we have an individual one, a small one which we use most days at dinner, and a larger one that we use at the weekends for loose leaf tea. And then old ones that I can’t bare to throw away (one has penguins on it). And my gingerbread Christmas one.

Do you collect (or hoard) any kitchen gadgets?

*In collaboration with The Homewares Company, all opinions are my own.

Jantastic weeks 2 and 3

So I am not sure how it happened, but somehow 3 weeks have gone by already. I realised at some point this week that I had not reviewed Jantastic week 2, so decided to combine it with week 3.

So, let’s see if I can remember.

Week 2 went like this:

Monday it was pouring with rain, I left work late with a pile of marking, so I opted for my yoga DVD to de-stress and stretch before tackling my work.

Also got to wear my new yoga socks- they have grips on the bottom so when you are holding certain poses you don’t slide down the mat. 

That meant my first run was on Tuesday- 3.5 miles. I think we went to the cinema on the Wednesday, and then I definitely went to Pump on the Thursday.

So after work Friday I had my second run of the week- 3.65 miles, so slightly longer than the other run but my legs were heavy after pump and the air was  cold.

Saturday I had a sports massage on my back and shoulder which felt so good. Then on Sunday I went out with Andy for a 6.8 mile run- as always it felt too fast but I managed to keep up.

So week 2 was successful with 3 runs out of 3 done.

Week 3 started with a run after work on Monday. I prefer to start the week that way, but took it easy due to running the day before. Normally I am fine to run 2 days in a row but that seemed to be what aggravated my hip over Christmas so I want to be cautious. I think I did 3 miles.

Tuesday was a rest day- we went to see Anchorman 2 at the cinema- so much more lighthearted than all the other films we have seen recently!

Then on Wednesday I braved Sweatshop for the first time in months! It was lovely to see everyone again, but there was no way I was keeping up with the main group. One of the girls came back and ran with me for a bit, then ran back to the person behind me, but most of it was on my own. It was dark when we set off and when my Garmin beeped (hold reset to save activity) I pressed the wrong button so ended up adding to my previous run. I never start it at home, but this time I let it carry on for my run home (which is about .75 of a mile) so in total over those 2 runs I did 6.9 miles, plus the run up there (still adding it up…). It was my fastest run to date so that is good.

Thursday was pump again- I had promised my friend last week that I would go a bit heavier on the weights this week- so tough!

Friday was just a rest day- I was going to do yoga but I had so much work I got on with that and then forgot basically.

Yesterday I went out for a long run on my own but decided I would see if I could keep up a similar pace to last weekend. Each time I noticed that my mile time was creeping over 10 I tried to speed up, and I managed to finish the 8.3 miles with an average pace of 9.54 min miles- I will take it!

Today has been a rest day- I woke up and sat on the sofa underneath the blanket and watched the tennis- totally unlike me to sit about like that but I really felt like I needed it. I was going to have a walk this afternoon but the rain stopped and then we had to pop to the hospital so I didn’t- I shall be doing my yoga DVD again later though, I promise.

So, week 3 done, onto week 4 and soon I have to choose the length of my long runs as Febulous will be here! Love it!

Jantastic runners- how is it going so far?

Everyone  what are you looking forward to in February?

And relax!

This post may not turn out to be that coherent (compared to normal)- we shall see.

I have just had a really busy week and feel like I will need the entire weekend to catch up. Today I got home at 6, had to take Andy to the station and then came home and did a couple more hours of work. Then I did some tidying (our house gets very messy when I run out of time) and have now put on some scented candles to help me relax.

Including this candle, which Airwick have sent to me to for my blog as they have a big range of air freshener products. I can’t take photos of candles burning, it just does not work. There is something calming and cosy about the flame on a candle, and I love scented candles, especially spicy or citrus ones.

Normally if we are both home on a Friday night we listen to the film podcast, Andy cooks dinner (sausage and bean bake for him, and plain bean bake for me with some sourdough) and we watch a film. I had grand plans for dinner- first it was going to be polenta, then I downgraded it to avocado pasta, but then the time came and I was hungry and busy so I went for the easiest option- toast with sundried tomato pesto, avocado and a little basil oil. Oh, and a splodge of hummus. Andy would tell me off for having toast for dinner- shh!

I realised earlier in the week I didn;t even do a Jantastic review of week 2, and now week 3 is nearly over, so I will combine them over the weekend I think.

Last week I raved about my new compression socks (from Running skirts UK if you are interested)- the pink ones are fab- the feet parts are sort of padded and patterned (hopefully you can see that in the photo). The green ones are more like normal socks- they still have the markings on them but not as much detail. So go for pink if you get some.

Check out the grip on these babies!

I have been on the hunt for trail shoes for a while now- I love running across the fields near me but recently they have been a nightmare due to all the mud. Plus when I did the Ware 10 mile race it was great but some of it was so slippery I needed ski poles- my road shoes are not cutting it! I have looked for ages- I had John Lewis vouchers so wanted to use them, but the shoes in the sale were not the right size, and they didn’t have any other trail shoes, so in the end I ordered from Wiggle. I love Wiggle- free postage and good prices, but they always include a packet of haribo in with whatever you order, which annoys me, as for one, they are not vegetarian, but also why not something more sporty? Anyway, this time as well as the obligatory sweetie packet, there was also a High5 energy bar- it looked a bit “fake” but the ingredients are dates, sultanas, cashew nuts, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds and a few other bits- not too shabby. I look forward to sampling it.

Finally I have a question. I have signed up to Daily Mile, and now when I plug my Garmin in to my computer it will synch and find new workouts. But even if I have previously uploaded a run to my Garmin dashboard, Dailymile won’t seem to be able to find it (eg if I forget to log it right away). Am I doing it wrong? I don’t normally plug in my Garmin after each time I use it as it is a bit of a faff. Or, can I log something on there that is not from my Garmin?

Plans for the weekend?

I am not going to Parkrun this weekend as I need to run around 8 miles, and should not be running 2 days in a row, plus the weather for Sunday looks pretty bad so I am going to go out tomorrow morning. Other than that I have some work to do but also some relaxing to catch up on. Have a good one!

Protein pancake experiment

So a while back I was sent some Cherry recovery mix to try. It is basically a protein powder, and although I tried it as a drink I was not that keen. I kept seeing recipes for pancakes using protein powder, so thought I would have a try. On Sunday morning I went on a run with Andy- we did the short loop which is around 6.7 miles. After stretching, showering and warming up, I attempted the batter.

The recipe I found was 2 scoop of protein powder, 2 eggs and some fruit. I went for 1 egg, a little of the buckwheat pancake mix, and some soya milk so it made a normal looking batter. It smelled a lot like cherry!

I added some blueberries to the pan, but this didn’t work out so well as they were huge and so the pancake split when I flipped them.

They didn’t look very appetising (I burnt them a bit by being impatient and turning up the heat), but they tasted quite nice (and after running nearly 7 miles I am not that fussy!). They had a different texture to normal pancakes, but I much preferred that way of eating the protein powder than in a drink.

After that I tried out my new compression socks- I love them!

After pottering about a bit we headed to the cinema to see Wolf of Wall Street- much more light-hearted than our earlier cinema trip. I smuggled in some nuts and chocolate as it was 3 hours long (and no interval!) and we had missed lunch.

Do you tend to eat in the cinema? We don’t usually- sometimes I take a little chocolate bar with me for us to share, but I usually forget about it.

* I was sent the powder in exchange for a review- all opinions are my own.

First try at polenta

On our National Parks holiday in the summer I ended up eating polenta quite a few times, as often it was the only veggie option on the menu. I have never tried it before but I really enjoyed it, so a few weeks ago I bought some to try. Then I realised that it might be a bit complicated, plus I found a recipe in The Clandestine Cake Club book for lemon polenta cake that I wanted to try out. I mean, making a cake must be easier, right?

It was a pretty standard cake recipe (I have found a similar one here if you are tempted), but instead of flour it used a mixture of ground almonds and polenta(this also makes it gluten free)- I didn’t have quite enough ground almonds, so used a bit more polenta so the overall weight was the same.

I was asked to try some Clover Immunity Support for the blog, so I used that in the cake. It is rich in Vitamin A and a source of Folic Acid, so it helps support a healthy immune system whilst its Vitamin E content also helps protect the body’s cells from oxidative stress.

The batter was so yellow!

It had to cool upside down (not sure why?) before being topped with a lemon syrup- basically lemon juice and a few tsp icing sugar all boiled up for a few minutes.

The syrup pooled on the cake instead of sinking in, but still had a lovely lemony taste.

Anyway, I should have halved the recipe as it made a huge cake, but luckily last Sunday we had people to help us eat it!

It was a really moist cake- I love lemon cake anyway, especially with ground almonds, but the polenta adds a bit of texture too.

So, I might try “real” (savoury) polenta another day, but for now I am content in using it in a cake.

Have you ever had polenta before? Any good recipes, point them my way! On holiday I had some lovely savoury polenta served with balsamic roasted veggies- I fancy recreating something like that at some point.

*I was sent compensation to cover the cost of the Clover spread, all opinions are my own.