A PSL kind of weekend

Not to be confused with PMSL, which I think of every time I walk past a Starbucks. I wish they would not use the abbreviation.


To re-wind a bit first. The last few weeks have been very busy- late meetings at work, evenings out (on a school night!)- including seeing Michael Palin, and going into London to see Ken Burns (he makes documentaries). Last weekend Andy promised me a trip out on Sunday if I got all my work done on Saturday, so I worked pretty late and we had a lovely day out. That is for another post though.

For a few weeks I have been wanting to visit my Nan, but I had a cold, then a cough, and then another cold, so I could not risk it. This week I was free from germs at last, so went to see her after work.

I got home to find Andy cooking dinner, and we had a lovely chilled out evening, watching Central Park Five (by Ken Burns- which is really worth a watch when you are in a serious mood) and then cheering ourselves up with Gogglebox! Hurrah!

Saturday I was out fairly early on my long run. I ended up doing 9.5 miles (I got home and my watch said 9.43, so I ran up and down the road until I got to the half!)- it was fairly slow, but I wasn’t worried about speed, I just wanted to do the miles as I don’t think I have run over 8 miles probably since doing the trail half back in the summer.

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Yes, I have posted this already, but I love it. Great breakfast. Although I was a bit silly as when I got home I noticed that the kitchen floor needed sweeping, so I did that, and when getting the dustpan out I saw the dusting stuff, so dusted the living room and bedroom, and then realised how full the washing basket was, so put on a wash. Then I had a shower and suddenly after that the hunger hit. Silly me.

I got on with some work, and then popped over to see my parents. Then I had to go to the shops, and I was very excited as Starbucks had emailed an offer where if you bought a pumpkin latte you got a free slice of pumpkin bread. Free pumpkin bread? Yes please. I parked a little way from town and walked in as it was just gorgeous weather. By this point it was about 4pm, so pumpkin cake was going to be my late lunch.

Alas, when I got there they had sold out of the loaf cake. Boo.

2014-09-27 15.48.20I did look at the sandwiches, but nothing appealed so went for a cinnamon roll. (I had already ordered the drink- pumpkin latte minus the coffee, which is way sweeter than a chai latte, but I was having a bit of an energy crash so it was needed). It was so good to be sitting outside in late September without a coat on.

After getting home I did some more work and then got dinner ready (a rare occurrence now).

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I roasted veggies (red and yellow pepper, courgette, red onion) with some oregano, then added some haloumi pieces, cooked some giant cous cous, and served with rocket.

On Sunday we went out for brunch with some friends. I was awake early so was trying to find coverage of the Berlin marathon on TV (according to their website, BBC2 and Eurosport had the rights) but it was not on at all. Grrrr. Shelly Woods won the wheelchair race, but I suppose she does not have a high enough profile to tempt the TV bosses….

Anyway, we went to a new place (The Bakehouse) which was really good- I had French toast with banana and maple syrup, but was tempted by home-made granola, fruit salad, or banana and raspberry loaf. After that I wanted to get a few bits in town so we walked around in the sunshine.

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Fat Face were having a sale, so I picked up these two dressed that I had my eye on already- they didn’t photograph very well, but they both have short sleeves in a darker colour, so there is a sort of double neckline. Also some more shampoo from Lush as I was running low, and a new Essie nail polish. We decided to walk down into the park, so went to Starbucks to see if they had any of the loaf (the voucher ran out today)- luckily they did, so we got a drink to have whilst walking through the park.

On the way home we stopped to get some garden bits (a fence panel has come down, but our neighbours’ landlord has not replaced it, and so all their weeds are coming in our garden, so we picked up a roll of bamboo fencing to cover the gap), and also put up some pictures, and then it was time for a bit more work.

I wasn’t going to have another run, but the weather was so good, so I headed out for 5 miles around the fields before it got too gloomy.

For dinner I hadn’t planned anything, but had been flicking through the Oh She Glows book and saw this lentil oatmeal bowl. I had the ingredients, and it sounded good, so I gave it a go. Although I missed out the oats (it  said you could) and just had lentils.

2014-09-28 19.23.35Lentils cooked with herbs and tomato, with tomatoes, avocado, sourdough topped with sundried tomato pesto, and some tomato and basil hummus.

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Then I had half of the loaf (I saved the other half for Andy, as he had gone to Wembley to watch the NFL). It was tasty, but not particularly spicy. I had a chilled out evening catching up on TV and doing a spot of baking (again, for another post).

Did you have a good weekend? Any other annoying abbreviations or acronyms? 

More coconut water!

As you guys know, I am a big coconut water fan. So when I was contacted by the folks at Naked, asking me if I would like to try some, of course I said yes. Naked are from the US and make a range of smoothies, and now they are branching out and adding coconut water.

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I was sent a couple of large (500ml) bottles with screw caps which is great as I would not drink it all in one go.

On Thursday Body Pump was back, after a 3 week break, so I really needed something thirst quenching when I got home. The coconut water is lovely- although I have not found one I didn’t like. One thing I found strange was that it was 99% fresh and 1% from concentrate- I am not sure why that 1% is in there, and it doesn’t bother me, I just don’t understand why.

2014-09-27 12.11.00A mountain of breakfast- French toast with  maple butter and chocolate pb, strawberries and apples cooked with spices, plus coconut water and chocolate flake tea.

On Saturday morning I had a long run (9.5 miles- my longest for months I think)- and again I needed some re-hydration. I do often choose to have coconut water after a run. Generally as soon as I get home I will have water with a nuun tab, then drink coconut water while I get breakfast ready, and then have a cup of tea with breakfast (and any coconut water left over).

If you fancy trying some it is available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Wholefoods in the UK. The RRP is £2.39 for 500ml which I think is really reasonable. I could not find it on their UK site, but the US version has other varieties including one with mango and peach, which is my favourite combination of fruits.

Coconut chocolate slices

Hey peeps

I am trying to get more organised. I have notebooks filled with lists, but recently I have started using my computer to help me a bit more. I use my calendar online, and have recently signed up to Evernote, although I don’t think I am really using it that well just yet.

One of the things I have started is a list for recipes that I find online. I used to just write them down on a scrap of paper, and then when I came to make them I would struggle to find the original recipe. Well, no more. Sort of.

weeks ago I saw a recipe for coconut chocolate slices, that used coconut flour. I am not the biggest fan of coconut flour, but I have some and need to use it up. So in my little note I saved the link to the recipe (which is here if you fancy a look). Hurrah! But I forgot to say where the link came from. Although I think it came from Cat’s blog. ? Sorry if it was somewhere else!

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Anyway, I liked the look of the recipe as it only used 2 eggs- so often coconut flour ones need 5 or 6. Plus chocolate and coconut are such a good combination.

I used a smaller pan (I think mine is 6×6 inches) and the mixture was very thick so I really had to spread it out and press it down. But it baked beautifully.

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Perfect post run dessert.

How do you keep organised? 

What would I say to my younger self?

I was contacted by Legal & General asking them to take part in this campaign, and it really got me thinking.

I think when I was younger one thing I was good at was resisting peer pressure. I was never bothered by fashions or what the “cool kids” were doing, and quite liked being different. I think that served me well, and although I am not the most confident person, I am usually confident in my convictions still.

However, of course there are things I would like to have changed. I think I would have told myself two things; to experiment with cooking a bit more, and to find exercise that I enjoyed.

To explain the first piece of advice a bit, I never liked meat at all, and turned into quite a fussy eater. While doing my GCSE’s I had to write a project about a specific diet, so I chose vegetarianism and showed my mum that in fact you could be vegetarian and also still get a balanced diet (she was very worried about my iron levels, which to be fair at one point were very low and I kept going dizzy and feeling faint), so she then let me. She was really good, buying meat replacement foods and things, but I wasn’t a fan and ended up eating a pretty limited diet of mainly pasta with tomato sauce, or beans on toast.  This wasn’t helped by my time at uni- I had long days (9-5 lectures, or teaching placements) and it was an hours bus ride each way, plus a cycle or walk to the bus stop. Often by the time I got home I was too tired and would just have a bit of toast, or at one point I had a phase of having rice pudding and fruit for dinner. Not good! Now I feel I eat a much more varied diet, and I am more willing to try new foods, and I am sure I am healthier too. So I would encourage my younger self to explore new foods to find a bit more balance.

Relating to the second piece of advice, I was always pretty active, but never really found anything I loved. We did lots of family walks and bike rides, and I even did a 5 mile fun run when I was about 10, with my Dad and a friend. I quite liked cycling, and cycled a lot before I learnt to drive, but I was always very nervous on the roads. When I started work I felt I had stopped being so active, so I started going swimming, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it. I am not a strong swimmer, whereas the rest of my family are. I have a huge scar at the top of one of my legs from being smashed against some rocks whilst swimming in the sea in Turkey (we had been on a boat tour, and the boat anchored and you could jump off the boat into the water and swim, but then another boat came into the bay and created these huge waves- everyone else was OK but I was not strong enough to stay away from the rocks- it was very scary anyway- it put me off more). I find swimming so exhausting, plus the chlorine stings my eyes, and my hair soaks up the water and would smell for days after even if I washed it several times. I then attempted the gym, but the equipment was just so boring and I was just plodding along wishing the time away. It was much later that I decided to try to run a 5k- I kept this a secret in case I didn’t manage it, but I did, and at some point during that training plan I started to really enjoy it. Now I consider myself a runner, but to my teenage self this would have been hilarious and unbelievable. I would tell myself to believe in myself a bit more, and give it a go.

What would say to your younger self? If you are on twitter there is a hashtag  #youngerself for taking part in the discussion.



I have a little apple tree in our garden- I think it is about 4 years old now. This year it was so weighed down with apples that some of the branches were touching the ground!

On Sunday we were going to see Andy’s family, so on Saturday I made an apple cake. Again, from the Clandestine Cake book (honestly the best ever cake recipe book). This one involved cooking apples in juice with spices.


In there is star anise, cardamon pods, cinnamon and nutmeg. It smelled amazing, so when it had finished I made some more to have with yoghurt.


Then you lined the tin with butter, a bit of brown sugar and a sprinkling of flaked almonds, poured the apples on, and then topped with the cake batter.

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Once baked, I left it to cool in the tin for a while before carefully turning it out.

It was delicious. I love cooked apples and the spices were perfect with it. The star anise was really unusual, but went really well.

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Another favourite to add to the list!

What would you do with a load of apples? I think a crumble might be next, if the weather cools down!