WIAW #4

I’ve made a fantastic discovery. Meridian Natural Almond Butter. I’ve seen it cropping up in various food blogs for some time now, so I know it’s nothing new. I picked it up totally on a whim a few weeks ago. Now here’s the shocking part…there’s still about a quarter of a jar left in the cupboard! That has NEVER happened with peanut butter (you can read why here – I can’t bring myself to type that shameful confession again.)

I know what you’re thinking, that if there is still some left weeks later, then it must be because it tastes like crap. But no! It tastes good, great in fact, especially with porridge. It’s just that, the slightly grainy texture and less sweet taste is not quite addictive enough to make me want dive head first into the jar as soon as it is opened. This is amazing news for me!

So here it is, on top of my morning porridge, made with semi-skimmed milk and a big handful of raspberries. Again – no green at Breakfast time today.

Porridge with raspberries and almond butter.

Porridge with raspberries and almond butter.

On Monday night, I cooked Spaghetti Bolognese, making sure there was plenty left over for lunch the next day. Nothing beats left overs for lunch, especially things like Bolognese which are always even tastier the second day. A handful of rocket salad and I have my greens. There are also tomatoes, red peppers, onions and mushrooms in the sauce so I’d say I’ve hit my veggie quota here!

Spag Bol with Rocket Salad

Wholemeal Spag Bol with Rocket Salad

For dinner I made one of The Man’s favourites (and another super left-over lunch!) Chicken & Chorizo Paella. Aside from the obvious lump of green (Spinach and Rocket Salad) there are also green peppers and peas in the Paella, as well as yellow pepper and red onion.

Chicken & Chorizo Paella

Chicken & Chorizo Paella

Throughout the day I also munched my way through a banana, an apple and an orange and guzzled down 2 cups of coffee and 2 cups of tea. Don’t worry – I also drink looooooads of water. I’ll finish there, because all that water makes you need to go for a wee at least a hundred times a day…

Me Vs. Wind

Nope, not that sort.

Sorry to disappoint all the fans of toilet humour out there (I’m definitely one of them) – this post has absolutely nothing to do with flatulence (I thought I’d at least give you something there!)

Here in Blighty the weather at the moment is pants. Think snow, ice, grey skies, cold and arctic wind and you are almost there. Spring has definitely not sprung. Unfortunately, with only just over 2 weeks until I will be taking part in a 10k race, the training must go on.

Morning runs the past few weeks have taught me that even at -2 you will soon warm up after the initial ‘AAAHHHHHHHHH It’s FREEEEEEZING!!!!!!!’ panic. So, when I woke up feeling quite sprightly this morning (AMAZING for a Tuesday!)  I decided to brave the weather once more and go for a quick 5k run before my regular Circuit Training class  at 7:30AM.

What I was not prepared for, was the wind.

It felt like I was trying to run through a force field. A force field which  steals your breath with it’s icy fingers. A force field which whips through your leggings and makes your skin sting.

I battled on, clinging to the hope that when I turned around, I’d be able to comfortably ride the wind all the way back. Why then, when I changed direction to head back towards the gym, did the wind decide to change direction too?!!!

The only thing that kept me going was the realisation that if I stopped running, I would be colder still AND it would take me even longer to get back. So I carried on, as fast as my stinging legs would carry me.

So I guess what I’m getting at here is that, wind is a bitch. No doubt about it. But, on the bright side, once you are out there it is also one hell of a motivator to run home as hard as you can!

Liebster Award: Embracing New Bloggers

Big thank you to Sam at Why Sam I Am for kindly nominating me for the Liebster Award!

First up, the boring, but essential bit…

The Rules of the Award:

1. Post eleven facts about yourself.
2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated.
3. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.
4. Go to their page and tell them.
5. Remember, no tag backs.

Here are my nominations:

Fit Food Fun

Sweat.to.eat | fat.kid.tweets

Theongoingmakeover

Shescuttingthecrap

But Can I Still Drink Wine?

Old-fashioned English Girl

No More Lettuce

Built for Comfort, Not Speed

Here’s one I made earlier

<2k-a-day

Knitpurl83

My Questions to the nominees…

  1. Sweet or Savoury?
  2. Morning or Evening?
  3. Indoors or Outdoors?
  4. Chocolate or Strawberry?
  5. Night in or Night Out?
  6. Pizza or Pasta?
  7. Spring or Autumn?
  8. Wine or Beer?
  9. Strong or Skinny?
  10. Twitter or Facebook?
  11. Ying or Yang?

Here are my answers to Sam’s questions…

  1. Favourite holiday destination? Too many to choose, I love travel and hate going back to the same place twice.
  2. First memory? Helping my mum dust the house whilst wearing fairy wings!
  3. Your tv show addiction? The Wire
  4. Favourite comfort food? Cake
  5. Pet peeve? Rude people.
  6. What would you do if you won the lottery? Travel as much as possible!
  7. Are you enjoying blogging? Yes!
  8. Biggest regret in life? Going to university.
  9. Ideal Sunday activity? Baking then eating cake with The Man.
  10. Favourite book? The Help.
  11. What you want to achieve from your blog? I want it to encourage me to bake more regularly.

And here are 11 facts about Me…

  1. This week, I overheard someone describe me as ‘Ginger.’
  2. I hate shoe shopping.
  3. I’m always cold.
  4. I’ll always remain an alias.
  5. I cannot nail brownies.
  6. I think that chocolate and vanilla cupcakes are overrated.
  7. I have to change the bed sheets on a Sunday.
  8. I like my tea strong but milky.
  9. I talk too much.
  10. I never iron my clothes.
  11. I have to get up for a wee at least once a night!

Me Vs. Steak

As a belated birthday present for The Man, we had reservations at Hawksmoor this weekend.

If you live in or around London (or are visiting anytime soon!) and you like steak, then you need to know about this place.

I didn’t take any pictures at the time, but for those of you who are into a bit of food porn then you need only look at their facebook page. Vegetarians look away now!!!

What did we have you ask?

What didn’t we have?!

Starters

I had the half a native lobster with garlic butter, which was delicious, but, I got a massive case of food envy when The Man’s Tamworth Belly Ribs arrived. I’m not usually a fan of ribs, they can be a bit fatty and I don’t like eating off the bone (mostly because it slows me down!!) but these were superb!

Main Course

We shared a Chateaubriand (Rare of course!) as well as a portion of triple cooked chips, macaroni cheese and creamed spinach. And when you do something, you’ve got to do it right, so I had the Béarnaise  sauce whilst The Man enjoyed the Stilton Hollandaise. Mmmm buttery sauce all over my steak and chips.

Dessert

The Man wimped out and had a lemon sorbet!!! What the????

I on the other hand NEVER pass up a chance to have dessert. Alas, I couldn’t quite face the obvious choice of Peanut Butter Shortbread with Salted Caramel Ice-Cream (DAMN!!!!) and instead went for the Sticky Toffee Sundae. Thankfully it was mostly ice-cream otherwise I could have been in big trouble.

My only advice to you when visiting would be to wear your stretchiest garments. This is not the place for that lovely, but restrictive bodycon dress and skinny waist belt. You have been warned!

Yoga Time?

After a particularly painful run last week, I pledged to start doing what everyone has been telling me to do for ages…stretch after a workout. (Yes, I know, I’m a bit late catching on with this one.)

It’s only been two days but so far, so good!

So did it work?

I can’t exactly claim I carried out a fair test, but, this morning my legs felt champion throughout the whole 10k. That’s more than I can say for last week!

When I returned home, I kept up the good work by using the foam roller and then having a good stretch.

On the downside, I very much doubt that I am doing anywhere near enough to improve my flexibility…

So what next?

A couple of blogs I love to read (But Can I Still Drink Wine? and No More Lettuce) have recently been posting about their new found love for Yoga.

Many, many years ago I went to a yoga class. Far from finding inner peace, I found it all a bit…well weird. The instructor was probably the most stereotypical yoga instructor you could possibly imagine. Think skinny, lentil eating male with ponytail and patterned baggy trousers. This guy ‘lived’ yoga. I just couldn’t relate at all and found myself hopelessly trying to complete the moves without collapsing in a fit of childish giggles.

Ever since, I’ve avoided yoga like the plague, always believing it just wasn’t for me.

Part of me still believes this is true…I’m not exactly a quiet, thoughtful kind of person. I’m a talking machine who lives life a 100 miles an hour. I’m always doing at least 3 things at a time (right now I’m drinking tea, eating a cupcake, watching CSI and typing this – no seriously!) I’m pretty sure that just being quiet for an entire class would be a struggle for me, let alone the fact that I am not only a total beginner but also ridiculously inflexible!

The other part of me thinks that all of the reasons above are exactly why I should be doing Yoga.

I just don’t know where to start?

WIAW #3

It dawned on me last week when I was catching up with a variety of WIAW posts, that in actual fact, most people post up pictures of their food from Monday/Tuesday rather than scramble around on Wednesday trying to photograph everything and write the post!

Therefore, here is WIAY (What I Ate Yesterday) or I suppose WIAT (What I Ate Tuesday).

I started the day with an early morning workout  (posted here if you are interested!) then came home for my usual weekday breakfast of raw oats with plain natural yoghurt and frozen blueberries. I’m not much one for green things  at breakfast time (is anyone?!) so it’s pinky/purple instead!

Oats with yoghurt and frozen blueberries.

Oats with yoghurt and frozen blueberries.

We had some clients in for a meeting in the morning, so I managed to snag 2 M&S Extremely Chocolatey Biscuits with my mid morning coffee. They didn’t hang around anywhere near long enough for me to take a picture of them, so you’ll just have to take my word for it when I say they were scrummy!

At lunch, I made up for my lack of green things with a home made Tuna salad which contained 4 types of green (Rocket, Spinach, Cucumber & Avocado) as well as some cherry tomatoes. I rounded off with an orange. You know what an orange looks like, right?

Tuna Salad.

Tuna Salad.

For dinner I wanted something super quick and easy as The Man was out so I didn’t feel like cooking anything too involved. I went for chicken and noodles with loads of stir fried veg (onion, green peppers, beansprouts, spinach and mushrooms.) It might not look very ‘green’ but there are two green vegetables in there!!

Chicken & Noodles.

Chicken & Noodles.

In the evening, I had a cup of tea with a couple of squares of Green & Blacks dark chocolate whilst working  on my crochet project.

 

Me Vs. Yarn Knots

A friend of mine has recently been kindly teaching me how to knit and crochet. I’m still very much a beginner. I’ve completed two scarfs and now begun to crochet a baby blanket which I am very much hoping will turn out to look as amazing as this.

Fortunately for a beginner, it is easier than it looks! All you need to do is learn one stitch, the single crochet and just repeat until you reach the desired size.

BUT, when you are using 3-4 different yarns at once, and you take you eyes of them for just a minute, you can end up in total tangle. Well, at least I did.

I have just spent TWO HOURS untangling a giant yarn knot! TWO WHOLE HOURS!!!!

Someone please, help a newbie out and give me some tips on how to prevent this happening to me again!

Stretching Success

limber_up

This morning I stuck to my pledge and after completing a quick 30 minute workout, I spent around 5 minutes stretching out all of the major muscle groups.

OK, so it is only day one, but I am pretty pleased with myself!

And I must confess, that it really wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. Although, I still can’t shake that ‘wimpy’ feeling.

The question in my mind now is:

“Does it really work?” Or should I say…

“To what extent does post workout stretching prevent DOMS?”

First things first, here’s the workout I did this morning (if you read my post about Tuesday’s last week then you’ll know that it doesn’t involve too much ‘moving’) :

  • 10 x Assisted Pull Ups
  • 25 x Press Ups
  • 10 x Sumo Squats (Holding 24kg Dumbell)
  • 1 Minute Plank
  • 10 Squats (60kg on Smith Machine)

REPEAT the above x 3

  • 10 x Clean and Push Press (with 8kg kettle bell in each hand)
  • 12 x Full Kettle Bell Swing (with 12kg kettle bell)
  • 30 Second Side plank on each side (lowering and lifting hips)
  • 30 Second Plank on the Swiss Ball (rolling ball in and out)

REPEAT the above x 3

Previous experience tells me that both pull ups and 60kg squats usually leave me with a pretty serious case of DOMS around 48 hours later. Which means that I am scheduled for tightness and pain on Thursday morning…. so, the exact same time that I am scheduled to run another 10k then.

But since I stretched immediately after the workout, the affects should at least be reduced, right??

I’ll let you know on Thursday….

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from some of you about your thoughts and experiences with stretching and DOMS!

Me Vs. Stretching

I hate stretching.

I also hate how terribly inflexible I am.

Yep, I can see the correlation there.

There are only two occasions when I actually stretch:

  1. When I am forced to ie. in a group exercise class.
  2. When it is already too late. ie. when I wake up the day after a tough workout and discover that I can’t sit on the toilet without wincing.

I’ve always envied the yoga babe / dancer types who can bend their slender limbs every which way with grace and ease. I on the other hand, can barely touch my toes. I wish that was an exaggeration, but it’s not. Not only that, any attempts at deep stretches usually leave me not so gracefully grunting and grimacing.

I’m sure that my flexibility, like any other area of fitness, could be improved if I were just to put the training in. So why don’t I?

Well, there are a few reasons:

  1. I’m bad at it (I realise this is a stupid reason, but I’m sure some of you will be able to relate to the fact that doing things you are no good at is not fun!)
  2. It hurts.
  3. It’s boring.
  4. It takes too long (30 seconds for each stretch, psshhhhh!)
  5. I just don’t like it, alright?!

So why do I suddenly feel like this needs to change?

Last week, after I completed the workout mentioned here, my gym buddy warned me that I should stretch afterwards. Do you know what I said?

“Pah, stretching is for wimps. I never stretch, I’ll be fine.”

I wasn’t fine. Turns out, 100 dead lifts in one session really gets those hamstrings screaming.

Thursday morning when we met for our 10k run, I was struggling, whilst she smiled the whole way.

It wasn’t just the hamstrings in the end either, other little niggles were beginning to appear here and there.  Running 6 miles in the rain at 07:00 is bad enough already without tight hamstrings, a dodgy ankle and a twinge in your knee. After 53 minutes of listening to me moaning, Gym Buddy informed me that all the little aches and pains I was experiencing were probably connected to the fact that my leg muscles are too tight. Makes sense really!

I hate the thought of  getting an injury, especially as we all know that on the days when you can’t run, the sun shines brightly and there is a gentle breeze in the air (also known as my PERFECT running conditions!)

All of this got me thinking, maybe stretching isn’t just for wimps after all…

So here is my pledge:

  1. I will make time to stretch thoroughly after every workout.
  2. I will use the evil foam roller after every run.
  3. I will never say that stretching is just for wimps ever again. Promise.

I won’t blame you if you don’t believe me, taking into account my most recent promise and subsequent failure. But trying and failing is better than never trying at all!

Failure

Last night I failed quite spectacularly with my mission to only have a maximum of 3 drinks. I don’t know what to tell you, except I had a great night!

As a consequence, today is a battle. To make matters worse still, after a week of scraping meals together from the dregs at the back of the cupboard and the bottom drawer of the freezer (frozen peas and marmalade anyone?!) the food shopping could wait no longer. For those of you who don’t yet know my troubles with food shopping, you can feel my pain here.

Food shopping with a hangover is twice as dangerous.

Not only did it take me twice as long as usual and cost me twice as much, I somehow aged 30 years in an instant at the tills when I was suddenly unable to remember my pin number, much to the annoyance of the people queuing behind me. Sorry angry lady with screaming toddler!

There is however an upside to shopping with a hangover. When I peered into the cupboard looking for a rewarding snack, I found a pack of chocolate hobnobs looking back at me!

Since it is raining outside and The Man is at work, I’m now going to curl up with a cup of tea and work on my crochet project for the rest of the afternoon. And I’m not going to allow myself to feel even the tiniest bit guilty at all.

 

Is anyone else suffering from a hangover today?