Eats and Animals

Oh hey Friday!


First up, some very exciting news: James has handed in his 283-page thesis, meaning his PhD is coming to an end…

…And to celebrate we finally booked a holiday!

We’re hoping to go abroad next year but to fit our pre-Christmas budget, we’re off to Centre Parcs for a few nights to swim, cycle, run and sleep – I can’t wait :)


James has been working from home for the latter part of this week, which has meant being spoiled with breakfast at my desk each morning. And coffee, all the coffee.

Speaking of coffee, I’ve been so exhausted recently from a double workload due to my colleague being off with a dislocated shoulder.

My exercise regime has literally vanished and I was feeling quite down about it so decided to bite the bullet and buy a fitness band.

I’ve been lusting after a Garmin vivofit after seeing Anna’s post and picked up one last Sunday.



I’ll do a big review when I have enough experience with it to give you a comprehensive account, it’s my first fitness tracker band so I’m still getting used to it.

It’s already kept me moving a lot more than I would have done otherwise, a red bar comes across the screen when you’re inactive for an hour, which is a huge wake up call.

Going for a run or even doing yoga has felt overambitious recently, but checking the band does encourage me to go for a walk, get outside and step away from my desk.


Food was going super well until the middle of this week, when I became tired and ill. Of course that’s the time I should have nourished my body with nutrient-dense goodies instead of chocolate (even a little dairy in there – really not good).

It’s a horrible vicious circle of feeling bad so eating bad, one I’m hoping a good rest this weekend and some exercise will pull me out of.

I did manage to eat a few nourishing goodies though!


Local fruit ‘n’ veg shop haul of raspberries, sprouts, bananas and the most gorgeous medjool dates


Spiced chicken with salad, avo, sweet pot chips and onions


Salmon with salad, avo, tenderstem and asparagus


Banana pancakes at the weekend


Pork chop with avo, salad, sweet pot and onion


Cod with sprouts, tenderstem, sweet pot fries and onion (bit of a theme due to buying a bumper bag!)


First of many chicken fajitas with avo and cucumber sticks

I’ve really been trying to stay hydrated to kill the ill and I think that’s a huge reason why I’m still going through these double shift days, Pukka’s three ginger tea is a lifesaver!


So three great things happened to me recently:

1) Jimmy Moore featured me in a round-up of paleo, low-carb and health blogs, which totally threw me as the other bloggers featured are so flipping amazing!

2) Coco Caravan offered a reader a chance to create their next chocolate flavour (**enter here**), the suggestions so far are really, really good.

3) Borrow My Doggy documented a playdate of mine with Rufus on their Instagram page. It was great to see his gorgeous face filling my feed!

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The pictures were from last Sunday, when we took Rufus on a hilly, muddy and brilliant walk, then headed back to his for a big play and cuddles.


I don’t know if I’ve already mentioned this but hamster Meeko has been very MIA recently, we think he’s jealous of the attention we’ve been lavishing on Rufus.

We’re fast approaching the year anniversary of adopting him from the ‘unwanted’ cage at Pets at Home so I treated him to some nuts to celebrate.


He made me laugh so much by literally hoovering them up, think I might almost be back in his good books (until we see Rufus tonight of course!).

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

* Have you been to Centre Parcs? Any recommendations? 

* Do you use a fitness band?

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GIVEAWAY: Coco Caravan

Coco Caravan chocolates are raw, vegan, handmade, organic and fair trade. But the main reason I’m in chocolate heaven is, well, the picture below.


That, my friends, is gorgeously gooey vegan caramel peeking out of rich decadent dark chocolate, accompanied with the crisp crunch of nuts and chew of raisins.

Oh yes!


Coco Caravan started off life as Chocolates by Jacques in Australia before moving to Cardiff in sunny Wales in 2013.

The company is fuelled by a passion for the environment, real and raw foods and a “deep belief of fair treatment of humans” – how awesome is that?

Their chocolates taste so deeply, darkly chocolatey it’s hard to explain but they put it pretty well: “raw and pure”.


Coco Caravan use an ancient rainforest cacao species called Criollo, which accounts for just 5% of all beans grown today but used to be the predominant bean 200 years ago.

Criollo is the rarest and most expensive cacao on the planet and Coco Caravan use a variety grown only in Peru, giving their chocolates a mild and rich taste.

The two other chocolate varieties are Forastero, now the most commonly grown bean, and Trinitario, a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero.

Raw Criollo cacao is one of the two main ingredients of Coco Caravan, the other being coconut blossom nectar, which is low GI and fructose.

Coco Caravan use certified fair trade Criollo, while their coconut nectar is harvested and produced in collaboration with local farms and communities in Java, Indonesia.


The chocolates are 100% handmade and hand packaged and vegan – Coco Caravan insist that flavours and textures are wonderful from nature, not animals-based products.

I spotted Coco Caravan products in my local health food shop and knew they’d be a perfect fit for my blog – I completely support their ethos and love the taste.

Flavours range from date caramel (ah-mazing!), hazelnut & current (like the richest, insanely good version of fruit ‘n’ nut) to full minty and raw dark.


There’s also cinnamon chilli, Indian Chai and Tamari almond to enjoy. I think my favourite is hazelnut & current so far…

But here comes the AMAZING part!!

Coco Caravan wants a Flake and Cake reader to come up with their newest flavour! They’ve currently decided on four out of five new bars

- Lime

- Blueberry

- Orange anais seed

- Dark

- Could you come up with the fifth?!

Coco Caravan will make a batch of the winning flavour and send it directly to you. It’s like having your own Willy Wonka and I’m so excited to see what you come up with!

To enter:

- Leave a comment telling me what your flavour would be!

For additional entries:

- Tweet your flavour to @Coco_Caravan

- Take a picture explaining your choice then tag @cococaravan and @flakeandcake on Instagram

Each of the above counts as a separate entry so please leave a comment below for each one. Giveaway open to UK residents only. Ends Tuesday October 28.

Good luck!

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Another Whole Foods Fan

Hello there! I can’t believe it’s already Thursday, this week has galloped by in the blink of an eye (a little poetry especially for you today!).

That means it’s a day away from the oh-so-glorious weekend and I have yet to recap the fun we had last weekend, so I’d better jump straight in.

7pm on Friday marked the end of a 12-day stretch and all I wanted was to eat and sleep, which is what we did!


Grilled salmon with tenderstem, asparagus, salad and avocado


My body naturally woke up super early on Saturday but I managed to fall back to sleep and was stunned to wake at 11.30! Clearly I needed the huge lie in!

James and I had pancakes then I convinced him to come to Whole Foods Market in Cheltenham for a shop.

He hadn’t been to Whole Foods before so imagine my excitement showing him round! I actually saved the best until last and insisted we ate before looking round the aisles.


Roasted pepper and sweet corn soup

I wasn’t overly hungry so had a cup of soup which was.. not great. I was disappointed the chicken soup had ‘chicken stock’ (water, chicken flavouring, glucose syrup) listed as a main ingredient.

Also, both vegetable and chicken soups contained gluten. I’m sounding like a food snob but I expected better from WFM, it isn’t hard to make a healthy soup with simple ingredients! Especially when you’re charging £3,99 for a ‘large’ cup..


My irritation quickly faded when I walked round with James. Reduced price beer, cheese and rib eye steak made him a very happy boy.


I picked up some Jason body wash and Green People face cream, as well as some new lipbalm. I am a devotee to Bath House but fancied one from a tube for a change.


After Whole Foods, James and I popped into Pets At Home to spoil Meeko with hamster treats and Sainsburys to gawp at the Christmas range. Only 69 days to go!


Tenderstem and asparagus, avocado, salad with balsamic and evoo, sweet pot chips and red onion

I was really off meat last week and had lots of meals like this, heaps of greens with sweet potato fries, salad and avocado. It felt good on Saturday night too!


Dates, almond butter and 85% chocolate

Followed by my daily dessert of choice, dates, almond butter and dark dark choc. I’m allowing myself a tub of organic almond butter a week (supplemented by non-organic tubs of course!), it tastes so rich and delicious!


I also cracked into this very fancy chocolate James treated me to a few weeks ago. I’d been saving it due to the very pretty packaging.


Sunday Runday with an injury-free James – hurrah! He hurt his foot in the half marathon but now seems to be fine, he rocked our  hilly 5k!


I was delighted to run with him again, so pleased to see him not in pain. It was quite chilly and I wore my new thumb-holed running top – it was a revelation!


James was hungry when we returned home and set about cooking all the bacon from our fridge while I sipped on kombucha and got pancaking.


Banana pancakes, raspberries, almond butter 

We then jumped in the car and headed to James’ parents house to see his family, including his little nieces, who are very sweet.


I wore my new Maison Scotch jumper, which came with a free tassel necklace that I really like – it’s surprisingly just the right length for me unlike most ‘long’ necklaces.


Tenderstem with grilled herbed salmon, avocado, salad, evoo balsamic

Dinner was mainly green but I did fancy some salmon. We enjoyed it while watching The Office (US version), James just bought the final season and it’s so good!

* Do you consider yourself a food snob?

(I’m guilty of making choices when it comes to animal welfare and preservatives but don’t judge others for what they choose to eat)

* Are you a thumb-hole fan?

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Eats and Feats


Am I ready for the weekend! I have crawled to the finish line of this 12-day straight schlep and it feels so, so good to be looking at two days off.

This week has been a busy one, both during work and in the evenings, which has made the long days a lot more bearable.

My new car is still new but racking up the miles – I did five hours of driving on Monday, five on Tuesday, seven on Thursday and six today. So. Much. Radio.

Tuesday night involved a long walk across the fields with my best friend, who is moving away from Bristol (and breaking my heart while doing so).

Wednesday morning started bright and early with a fab run with Laureen - we even saw a rainbow on the Clifton Suspension Bridge (you can just about make it out below)!


I wore my new Maison Scotch dress for the first time, I adore it – especially the sparkly collar and towel-like fabric!


I had to dress down in the evening because we had tickets for a free three-course meal at Byron, which has just opened on Clifton Triangle.

James and I went for a walk in the rain before our meal and managed to find one of the interactive lampposts in Bristol.


My meal started with olives, while James went for chips and guacamole. The olives were some of the best I’ve ever tasted, lovely and cold too.


I tried the courgette fries as my side and they were so good, not quite on par with a deep fried pickle but then what is?! James had macaroni cheese.


Oh hello! I went for a bunless chicken burger, which came with avocado, salad and a palate-cleansing pickle. Not deep fried but you can’t have everything ;)


James loved his burger (and pickle!). We were too stuffed for dessert but will definitely be back to sample more delights of their menu.


Especially as the bill came with temporary tattoos, badges and mini burgers. So fun!

I was still very full on Thursday, but had to jump in the car and head to Devon for work. I worked in Bideford all morning, before grabbing a coffee at a lovely cafe.


I was so desperate for caffeine I didn’t even find out the name of the place but it was fab. They were a bit confused to see my work attire and laptop in such a tourist destination!

Not as confused as the beach-goers on Croyde Beach, where I was sent to take some pictures.


I clambered on top of some sand dunes to get my shots, sadly my dress and shoes were not appropriate – I had quite a few Marilyn Monroe moments to the shock of elderly visitors in their raincoats!


The drive home (130 miles) seemed oh-so-far until I found a momento of Byron in my handbag.


Burger and the beach, what more could you ask for?

I managed to get home in time to take our Borrow My Doggy friend Rufus out for a walk with James, which was great – he’s really starting to listen and trust us.

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We walked him all round the city, he took great delight watching everyone coming and going on the harbourside.

After two hours of walking, the three of us were exhausted.. even if we pretended that we weren’t!

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That’s Rufus with two giant balls. He was desperate to play and kept running around with both in his mouth, despite clearly being tired out!



Salmon with sweet pot fries, onion, avo, salad with baby kale leaves (delish!)


A big bowl of tenderstem and asparagus as an afternoon snacklet


Vanilla coyo with organic raspberries


Craving all the greens! 


Sun: Run 6miles (ish) with Laureen

Mon: Off

Tues: Long walk with Pippa

Wed: Run 3.2 miles with Laureen

Thurs: Walk with Rufus and James

Fri: Insanity pure cardio

Sat: (planned run with *fingers crossed* recovered from injury James!)

* Have you ever been to Byron?

* Are you a pickle fan?! 

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Plugging away

Hello there! Did you have a fabulous weekend? I feel like mine is still continuing because I worked it and I’m still working away now.

I am so keen for a holiday and an extended rest but I have to hold out for a little while longer as James finishes his PhD, not long to go now!

I’m really looking forward to a little break (as I’m sure James is!) after it ends and also hopefully some certainty about where we’re going next.

Along with a certain little guy, he’s anxiously waiting to hear if our plans include adopting a three-lettered animal starting with ‘d’ that may replace him as king of our affections!


Sorry about my creepy face, Meeko likes to hang out when it’s way past my bedtime and I can hardly keep my eyes open!

Anyway, away from him and back to the weekend.


Saturday started early, 5.30am early in fact! I’d left the window open wide by the bed and was rudely awoken by water pouring straight onto my face. Hello storm!

I couldn’t get back to sleep so cracked on with the working day. My family was down in Bristol for the day so I met them at 2.30 for a quick coffee and chat.

Jenny, my sister, came and worked with me which was lovely until 7pm when we met my Mum and stepdad at the Watershed for dinner.


I had mackerel, with mustard new potatoes and salad. It was so delicious, the fish was perfectly cooked! I also had some quinoa and chickpea patties with chilli sauce.

Work finished at 11pm and I fell asleep rather too easily thanks to the antihistamine I took after the meal (I could taste butter on the fish but was too hungry to care when it arrived).


Sunday Runday! I was so grateful that the lovely Laureen at Peachylau agreed to wake up super early to go for a pre-work run with me!


My Garmin only jumped into actions mid-run so I think we covered about six miles, it was so fun showing her my favourite weekend running route.

After our run, I saw a picture from my cousin on Instagram saying that she’d tried to make banana pancakes and it hadn’t been successful.

I sent her some very nerdy instructions on how to get it right (see my post here) then followed them myself to make sure they were correct.


Yup! This was two large organic eggs (higher welfare standard than free range, which I only found out last week) and one fairtrade banana.


And organic almond butter as all the shops had run out of standard. I grumbled about the price but have to say there is a difference in taste, I can’t afford it every time though!


When I picked up the almond butter I also stocked up on goodies for my handbag, nothing like it to make me look forward to the week ahead!

I worked through the afternoon then took my car for its first car wash, such a scary moment!


Does anyone else find the car wash terrifying? I once wrote a story on a man whose brand new car was mangled by one and haven’t felt confident in them since.

James had been away for the weekend recording music with his band so I prepped a fun and healthy dinner on his return.

IMG_6915The first plate of many chicken fajitas, oh yes!

* Do you have any breaks planned?

* Do you sleep with the window open?

I like to every day, even in winter! James likes to close it as soon as I’m asleep ;)

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Eats and Feats

Working weekend for me! Hope you have a wonderful one and this rain cheers up soon.

I’ve had a bit of a busy working week, which has done me a lot of good. I thrive on a balance of super busy, interesting work (hello adrenaline buzz!) and not so busy, so fingers crossed this weekend and next week will be a little more forgiving.

This week has been a good one in terms of feeling a bit more like myself again. I restocked on kombucha and have been trying to cram in lots of good foods and less treats, my body has been really inflamed all week for some reason – like I’m having an allergic reaction but there’s nothing I can think of that would be triggering it.

Well, there is one little furry thing but I refuse to go there!


Yup, we had the pleasure of our Borrow My Doggy friend, Rufus’ company this week.

I picked him up on Wednesday and I (now) wish someone had a camera to film our double act down to meet James.

Rufus is a stubborn little chap and decided he didn’t want to walk the way we needed to go. Cue lying in the middle of the pavement (at rush hour), barking at me, howling, getting up when I offered him a treat, taking the treat, walking a few steps then repeating.

It was really busy in the streets and passersby couldn’t help laughing at his cheeky behaviour and my desperate attempts to move him on.

Of course he was as good as gold when we finally made it down to see James, it’s clear who the favourite is!




We walked his little legs off, two hours of power walking around Ashton Court estate and he finally looked a little tired out as the sun started to set.


He’s such a lovely dog though, it’s so nice to have his paw-fect company and he keeps us (and everyone else he meets) entertained.

Speaking of furry friends, I was home alone last night and had a lovely time hanging out with Meeko, who has been a bit AWOL recently (we think he’s jealous of Rufus smell).


I love picking him up when he’s all sleepy and feeling him snuggle into my warm face, he wriggles in and presses against me. So sweet!



Arbroath smoked salmon with kale, tenderstem and lemon


Cheeky lemon coconut ice. Oh yeah!


Fancied a vegan dinner so here it is. Will definitely do it more often – this was delicious!


Locally made orange chilli dark choc. Fab ingredients, fab packaging.


James treated me to fancy evoo. He has my heart forever.


Found these amazing Lifefood raw cookies made from nuts and dried fruit. Ah-mazing.


I snuck in a pancake brunch one morning. So good!


I’ve been making a real effort to walk everywhere like a crazy woman, aiming for at least 15,000 steps a day. This week I’ve been doing lots of walking for work so managed to hit my target. My body just really loves walking, it’s my favourite exercise.

I will try and get back into more running/pilates workouts next week, I’ve noticed a real jiggly-ness to my body since backing off. I’m not talking about any crazy regime, simply making time for a 30 minute workout three times a week, which works best for me.


Mon: Run 4.5 miles

Tues: Walk Rufus (two hours)

Weds: Off

Thurs: Walking

Fri: Walking

Sat: Pilates and yoga 30 mins

* What exercise does your body love most?

* How busy do you like to be?

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Bristol Half Marathon 2014

Running any race is a special experience but for me, there’s something so wonderful about a half marathon.

It’s the crowds cheering, children handing out sweets, dogs barking, banners, cheers and camaraderie of both runners and spectators alike.

I find it such an immersing experience, and try to soak in as much as possible – the sounds of footsteps, the fancy dress costumes, looking for familiar faces in the crowd.

And to top it off, Bristol Half Marathon snakes around the curves of my city, filled with my landmarks and roads I know oh-so-well.

There’s nothing like sprinting towards that finish line to make me feel like an even bigger part of Bristol, to make me feel so proud of the place I call home.

And that’s why for years I’ve been bugging my boyfriend, James, about running it with me. I’ve been so keen for him to experience it too.

It was such an exciting moment when he finally agreed to take part!


We went out on training runs three times a week, slowly built up our distance to 7.5 miles and then… life happened.

My darling dog crept to the end of his life and weekends were taken up with long journeys to my family home to pack in as much love and happiness for him as possible.

My wonderful Mum had a few operations and we anxiously awaited test results, thankfully they came back fine after a few weeks.

When we felt mentally able to tackle a run, we were physically unable to due to both contracting horrible colds that went on and on and on, right until race day.

So while I managed to crack out a 10-miler one evening, James remained with 7.5 miles as his highest ever ran distance – not a comforting prospect as he approached the start line.

Bristol Half Marathon 2014


We ended up in the second wave, so had to be at the start line for 10am – allowing us lots of time to relax and panic before the race began!


I was still battling the evil cold, so drank my bodyweight in lemon and ginger tea before we had to leave in order to get as much hydration in as possible.


Breakfast for me was 1.5 raw bites, for James it was toast, eggs and bacon. Next year, I’ll boost my breakfast because I was hungry by mile 5 of the race, despite carb loading to the max the evening before.

It was so exciting to get dressed together and nervously make our way down to the starting pen. We deliberately left it as late as possible, as the start is only a 10 min walk from our flat (we wanted to avoid any portaloo needs!).


We stood in the start pen, took a selfie (obvs..), before warming up our legs and then it was time to go!

We’d both decided to go out slow and hopefully save our legs in order to hit the sub-2 hour mark.

Mile 1: 8:48, Mile 2: 8:46, Mile 3 8;58, Mile 4 9:02, Mile 5 9:00 

We were so chuffed with the splits, in our recent training runs we’d been hitting around 9:30s so this was huge news!

At mile 5 I started to feel a little hungry but kept up the pace for James, who was looking strong.

Mile 6 9:12, Mile 7 8:53, Mile 8 9:09, Mile 9 9:24, Mile 10 9:37

As we reached mile 8, James turned to me and said “well this is new territory” and I took a big gulp, I hated seeing him going through the race without the training.

We started to slow at mile 9 as we hit some hills and at mile 10 I could see James was struggling. His face was pale and he said he was finding it tough.

I told him “This is mile 10, this is when you hit the wall. It’s hard, it’s always hard, everyone is finding it tough. You can do it, just keep going, dig deep.”

We’d both loaded up iPods full of music to scream us through when the going got tough so I asked if he wanted to put his on to help him.

“No, I want to listen to your voice,” he replied and my heart cracked a little bit.

Mile 11 10:45, Mile 12 10:32, Mile 13 9:56, 0.12 0:56

At mile 11, we walked up a hill and then on some flat, the pain was really starting to bite and there was still a way to go.

After a quick calculation in my head, I told James the time so far and how far we had left. He said: “If we run two 9 minute miles we’ll be sub 2″ and we decided to try.

Alas, those hills and very tired legs meant it was not to be. We walked again at mile 12 and in mile 13, when James told me “don’t let me stop now, okay?”.

The sun had been hot for all the race (I was throwing bottles of water over us throughout) and we were really starting to flag but managed to run again just in time to speed past our cheering parents.

I knew we weren’t going to make sub-2, so I told James the priority was just finishing, however he wanted to do it.

Suddenly, peeking through at crowds – the finish line! We ran as fast as our tired legs would let us, and sailed over the finish step in step.

We gratefully picked up our medals, t-shirts, goody bag and water, water, water before bumping into James’ Dad as we made our way to meet our parents.


So relieved I couldn’t keep my eyes open…!

It was then time for our parents to meet for the first time, which went super well. My Mum said to James: “When Claire finished her first half, she said she’d never do it again.. would you?”

And he replied: “Yes!” which again, made my heart crack a little again and a few tears spring up!

I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful boyfriend who is my partner in every sense, when I run my next half I want him there and running it by my side.

Having someone else to focus on was great because it didn’t let any self-doubts creep into my mind, I was just concentrating on getting us through as best as I could.

I’m also of the opinion that once you’ve done a half, your body is much happier doing that distance again. I certainly didn’t find this race easy but every time I do a half (this was number 4) I get more into a groove.


After the race, we went home and James took off his shoes. Holy blisters! His big toe on one foot was literally horrific, poor man for running on it for so long.

We think he ran awkwardly to stop the pain on that toe because his heel has been injured for the past two weeks, it seems to be healing fine with lots of RICE though.

Our final times came through and I chuckled to see that we had exactly the same one to the second: 2:02:58

I’m pretty pleased with our time, all things considered, and think James did so well to get it despite his training history – the last five miles of that race were unknowns for him.

We’re already planning to do it next year, with proper training of course. Now, the focus is on healing up, getting back to full strength and maybe a few shorter races too!

* Have you ran a race in your home town or city?

* When is your next race?

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