That’s when good bloggers become good friends..

Hello there! Have you enjoyed the sunshine and showers or has it been a bit much? I can’t get over how hot it has been!

My week has been a hectic one, I thought I’d have a nice relaxing one today as I was only out of the house until the early afternoon.

Well, Henry has other ideas, he’s been in full on destruct mode all afternoon. Sigh. I was looking for my shoe earlier and stumbled upon it nicely destroyed.

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“Nothing to see here officer, move along”..

He’s definitely been feeling the heat, we’ve been worried about him getting too hot so have been limiting his walks and treating him to a private pool in the garden.

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His favourite thing seems to be to get nice and wet, then roll in loose grass like a maniac before looking very proud of himself.

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We’ve had a lot to think about (potentially exciting house news on the way!) this week and having his goofy company has helped lighten everything.

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I think it’s fair to say we’re totally smitten with him!

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He’s smitten with us too, especially after I shared one of my boiled eggs in my lunch above with him. This was his position for the next two hours (no zoom):

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Apart from dog therapy, I’ve been dipping into the joys of good old coffee and chocolate this week.

IMG_1061If you haven’t tried the small Booja Booja selections, you need to! The kalamata olive is my absolute favourite, though espresso with coffee is also a winner.

I may have stocked up for this weekend, my Mum and sister are coming to stay so I see my supply being eaten super quickly!

Speaking of weekends, let’s rewind back to the last one because it was awesome and featured some familiar faces to you.

Friday

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Labradoodles are clever dogs, which is a blessing and err.. not. Henry is so smart and loves a mental challenge (and physical.. like play fighting with a sausage dog).

It’s hard to believe that there are dog ‘board games’ but it is true and I’m now a massive convert. I actually ordered two more today as this one has been such a success.

 

This is Henry asking to play with it – he goes crazy for it and will work for any treats, even his usual meals.

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Friday night couldn’t come quickly enough, especially as we had a doggy date booked with Rufus. We had a great time, though someone became sad when his BFF had to leave.

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Yes, that is Henry sitting on Rufus’s lead and refusing to budge…!

Saturday – Blogger Meet Up!

Saturday started bright and early with Henry as I had to get down to the train station to head to London, where some of my favourite bloggers were waiting!

We met at Wholefoods in Camden, and grabbed lunch – I went for a salad box of pulled chicken, salads, salsa and herbs after a little welcome help from Anna.

Our party (organiser Cat, Pip, Ceri, Mary and Anna) headed to Regent’s Park for a picnic in the sunshine and it was awesome to chat to them in real life!

I was SO nervous before my first blogger meet up – what if I didn’t match up to my blog, what if nobody talked to me? etc – but I felt pretty calm this time round.

Well, after negotiating the tube and finding Wholefoods that is!

We headed to inSpiral, a vegan, raw food cafe where ordering and sorting the table felt like we were in a parallel universe, speaking a different language.

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Luckily, Cat perfected her inSpiral-ese and negotiated us a fab table just in time for the arrival of Lily, Laureen and her fiancé Laurence.

We chatted away like that old blends that we are for hours before it was time to head back to our respective homes around the country.

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I was nattering away so much I forgot to take a group picture but luckily Cat remembered to and so we have this lovely momento (ignore my closed eyes!).

I reached Bristol at 8.30 then powered it home where a lovely dinner was waiting for me (“I’ve been in London, give me all the vegetables”).

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Can’t wait for the next meet up, I had so much fun and enjoyed chatting to every person there.

Sunday

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I started the day with a small breakfast as I felt quite full from the previous day (nothing to do with snacks on the train home..) before bracing the rain for a walk.

Luckily it cleared by the afternoon so we could enjoy a long walk with Henry, Rufus, my Dad, his partner Pauline and their friend’s dogs, Tinker and Tips (mum and daughter).

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It’s fair to say the dogs (and us) had a brilliant time, they loved running about together and sitting nicely for treats.

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Yup, that’s my dog doing the ‘half sit’.. cheeky!

If you needed proof that Rufus and Henry are BFFs, here’s a picture from the car journey home:

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I’ve spared you the crying Henry did when we dropped Rufus at home. Or the way we sang ‘Stay Another Day‘ to him in response.IMG_1263

Dinner was a fabulous grilled pork steak with sweet potato fries and salad.

* Have you attended a blogger meet up? Were you shy?

* How’s the hot weather been for you?

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All kinds of updates

Hello there to you! How is everything going?

It’s been a while as I just haven’t had the mental space for blogging recently, which makes me sad because it’s something I really enjoy and value.

I can’t promise to be back to my regular posts for reason you’ll see below but I will try to pop in when I can – I miss this lovely community!

Here’s what’s been happening recently:

I tried colouring for mindfulness..

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.. But bought the worst pencils and ended up getting stressed about how they barely worked at all. How ironic!

You may notice I bought the Mindfulness Colouring Book then couldn’t resist adding a fairy princess version to my basket. You’ll never guess which I tackled first ;)

Paleo eating is continuing to work wonders for me..

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… I’ve been eating 99% paleo (if you include raw chocolate because that’s approximately 95% of my diet!) for the past four months and am totally loving the results.

I know that my improved health is due to a variety of factors but I feel it wouldn’t be possible at all without my diet.

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That’s not to say I’m not pushing the boundaries a little! I went out for a Lebanese lunch with colleagues the other day and have been indulging in some gluten-free cakes.

Henry celebrated his half-birthday…

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… And I actually shed a tear! I’m so proud of him for how far he has progressed, I think he grows more handsome every day.

Now I just have to spend the next six months teaching him how to wear a party hat, get used to balloons and perfect a recipe for a doggy birthday cake.

I think James might only approve one of the above ;)

My car was burgled and Henry helped catch the thieves…

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… I can’t say too much about this because the three ‘suspects’ are out on police bail but Henry woke us up at 4am one morning trying to growl and bark for the first time.

Police eventually tracked the ‘suspects’ down to a nearby road and I’ve been reunited with my stolen property, along with many other car owners in Bristol.

It’s weird, I spend much of my job as a journalist spending time near crime during court cases but I’ve never been affected by it myself.

James are I are pretty shaken up by the experience as my car is parked right by our back door, on a private drive armed with security lights and warning signs.

My car, filled with my memories and belongings, which I sit in each day, is now an “attack vehicle”, covered in fingerprint dust and featured in forensic pictures.

We don’t feel safe in our home but…

…We’re having to move (again)…

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Long story short, our landlady put our flat on the market days after we moved in and is determined to sell it as soon as possible.

We’ve decided to buy our next property, instead of rent. We’ve done many viewings and seen a few places that would be ok but nothing great yet.

My sister graduated university and came to stay…

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… We had a blast! She’s moving to Berlin next month so will be popping down to Bristol again for a few days.

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Her plan is to get as many cuddles with Henry as possible, something he is very happy about. This dog loves to cuddle!

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We made the mistake of allowing Henry on the sofa for cuddles when he was tiny. Now he’s 16kg (and growing) so there’s limited room for us humans to sit!

And finally, Henry and Rufus are BFFs…

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… I know many of you love hearing about Rufus and I can honestly report that he and Henry truly are great friends.

We try to get the boys together a few times a week, it is so lovely to see their faces light up when they spot each other.

Wherever Rufus goes, Henry follows. They bring us so, so much happiness and joy!

* Have you ever been a victim of car/house crime? 

* Have you tried colouring to reduce stress?

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Bristol 10k 2015

I fell back in love with running the moment I saw the finish line of the Bristol 10k.

My whole body relaxed, the biggest smile beamed across my face and energy jolted through my legs. I pretty much danced across that beautiful line and it felt rather good!

It certainly wasn’t bad for a race I was unsure I would be able to do, that I started with lead for legs and without any plans for time or pace.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t PB. But I’m still happy with my time, especially given a complete lack of training.

Bristol 10k 2015

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In the weeks and days leading up to the 10k I was not feeling it at all! Usually, James and I would have used a training plan, running three days a week.

Instead, we all but stopped running and spent our days clocking up 13-14 miles chasing work and puppy – no stretching, no strength training and no spare energy!

Putting it mildly, I woke up on race day feeling unprepared, shaky, and a bit sick with nerves.

I gulped down a cup of hot water and a Nakd bar then headed to the start with James and Laureen (who we met on the way).

We made a loo stop then waited in our pen for the start.

I don’t now how I was feeling at that point, but James asked me if I wanted to take a selfie and I may have responded with expletives so that gives some indication!

Anyway, we set off and I was ok. I had a bit of a stitch but running as a foursome  (Laureen’s friend Liv joined us) distracted me, along with the crowds.

The course features a long schlep up the Portway (under the Clifton Suspension Bridge) and the turn back towards Bristol just before 5k was a very welcome one.

Cheers and music pushed me through until the four-mile mark, when my legs decided they were not loving it and my face felt like it was burning off.

James and I lost Laureen and Liv around this point as our pace began to slow down. We ran step in step together, always a lovely experience.

There came a point at about five miles where we both wanted to stop but kept going and then it was a push through the city centre for the final stretch.

Crowds were out in force through that last mile, which made such a difference. I tried to clap or cheer them as I ran past, it was rainy and cold so props to them for coming!

And then came that beautiful moment when the finish line appeared. I was so overjoyed to be over it, step in step with James and feeling so well.

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It was quite muggy – the type that makes you mega thirsty – so there was a bit of a queue for water and then the usual grab for foils, medals and t-shirts.

I usually ignore the foil but decided to wrap myself in it, something I was so grateful for as soon as we got out of the hub of warm runners post-race and into the runner’s village.

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I felt really happy. I try not to bang on about paleo here but I will say my stomach was flat the entire race (it used to swell up painfully during any high-effort run).

Speaking of paleo, the only foods I wanted post-run were burgers, pizza, bread, cake, pasta.. I had the biggest cravings even though I haven’t eaten them in years.

We met up with Laureen, who had done brilliantly, then headed to Boston Tea Party to congratulate fellow Hill Killer Girl Julie on her fabulous result.

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Everything smelled delicious in there but we headed on home to keep Henry company. He was delighted to join in the post-race celebrations!

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And thought the foils made a perfect bed:

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Our time was 55.00, a result I’m pleased with. We’re hoping to smash our PB in the half marathon in September so better get training!

* Any other racers this weekend? How did you do?

* When do you start training for a race?

We’re thinking 12 weeks will be plenty for the half ;)

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From flu to a fluff monster

So after the general election, I was feeling pretty smug. I felt ace throughout the 26-hour shift and gave myself a few pats on the back for my good health.

Needless to say, I didn’t feel quite so smug last week when I ‘enjoyed’ full blown flu, which has only just left me. Unlike my nurse:

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That’s Henry’s worried face, he had it all the time when I was ill. He point blank refused to leave my side and stayed awake next to me while I slept during the days.

He’s back to his normal self now, although it took him a few days to realise his bed privileges were only for when I was too weak to push him off..

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Side note: He’s so grown up these days, I keep asking where our little pup has gone! His personality has definitely grown with age, he’s full of cheek now.

The weekend started on an interesting note as Henry had his second appointment at the grooming parlour (his first in Bristol).

James and I had thought it would just be a wash and brush but it was actually a 90-minute Full Monty – including a hygiene clip (don’t ask), facial shave, nail clip and backcomb.

We were stunned when we picked him up – he looked like he’d been airbrushed!

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I have to admit I didn’t like it, I wanted my scruffy boy back! But poodle coats need this kind of treatment every 6-8 weeks so I’d better get used to it.

After the groom, we drove to the Cotswolds to spend the night at my Mum’s house for Henry’s first sleepover.

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Henry was more spooked by his new look than we were so it was quite a stressful trip, he only really perked up just before we left on Sunday morning. Sigh.

Before our drive home to Bristol, we met my Dad and his partner at Cirencester Park (a place so dog friendly you don’t have to pick up dog mess!).IMG_0448

Dad recently bought a new toy, a 1989 Lotus and of course couldn’t resist bringing it to take me for a spin. I swear his chest puffed with each admiring glance!

Let’s just say Henry was super chuffed to be back home, he did a few mad dashes round to make sure everything was still there before settling on the sofa for a bone.

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My payback for his nursing skills was to hold that bone just right.. all night! My wrist was quite sore the following morning but how could I stop with that face?

Monday we took it steady through the day, Henry was back to our sassy pup and full of beans on his morning walk.

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We headed to a new walk, Snuff Mills, in the afternoon with Rufus and his humans, which was a lot of fun.

Henry is still scared of water and kept yapping at Rufus everytime he went for a swim (which was a lot because the walk is along the water).

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I’m just so grateful to be feeling better now but I am feeling nervous about Sunday’s 10k (the Bristol 10k).

We went for a run last night and it was humbling to say the least, I just didn’t enjoy myself in the way that I used to.

Having a dog seems to have made the biggest positive impact on my health in years – my allergies are lower, my skin is clearer, sleep deeper and weight stable.

Running doesn’t fit into that picture at the moment, when I go it throws everything out of whack for a few days.

My body seems overjoyed with a long, hilly walk twice a day, throwing in the odd sprint here and there.

I’m not saying that I’ll never run again (in fact I’ll be running on Sunday..) but I don’t have any plans to kick start any kind of regular running/exercise routine right now.

* When did you last have flu?

* What did you get up to over the Bank Holiday?

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Salcombe in the spring

Hello! How is everything going? Hope you had a fab weekend and enjoyed the sunshine.

We took Rufus and Henry to Sand Bay, a beach near Weston-super-Mare, yesterday and it is fair to say that we’re all exhausted today.

I woke up all shivery and achy this morning, with a charming cough, but I’m hoping my first job of the day (it involves puppies!) will revive me until I can crash tonight.

Talking of exhausting, today’s post starts on election night. I can thoroughly recommend a little spring break on the coast while recovering from a 26-hour shift.

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I returned home at 8am (always good to hit city rush hour traffic after working through the night..) and fell into bed, with Henry standing guard by me.

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After an hour of sleep, my Mum arrived to drive us down to Devon for a long-planned mother and daughter break.

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It was lovely to be in the sunshine and have a change of scenery! We took the day slowly, with a vat of coffee, lunch and a walk followed by relaxing and an early night.

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I was very excited to find these chocolate buttons at the Salcombe Coffee Company, they were the perfect treat.

A super deep 12-hour sleep felt like utter bliss and I woke refreshed and ready for another walk on Saturday.

My body was craving all the carbs, so lunch was perfect seaside fodder!

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Our walk was hilly and scenic, we kept being passed by runners in some kind of race – I didn’t envy them because it was hard enough to keep my footing while walking!

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Our walk was about eight miles total and felt so good, though my legs were burning at the end.

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Salcombe is like stepping back in time when you need to buy food – you go to the butchers, the greengrocers and the sweet shop (I resisted this trip though).

Dinner was gorgeous and tasted even better for being cooked by Mum, I always miss her meals.

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The baby potatoes were locally grown and were just divine, I couldn’t get enough of them with a little sea salt. Yum!

I slept really badly on Saturday night, I kept waking up and was so restless. I think part of it may have been missing Henry – he was taking liberties without me though!

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He’s not allowed on the bed but decided he could sneak on without James noticing as I wasn’t there. James woke up to this peaceful face snoozing at his feet.

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Sunday breakfast was at Sailor V (say it aloud..), mainly because I had work to do. Two hours of typing later and I was ready to enjoy the day.

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Having a cooked breakfast really didn’t agree with Mum or I, we were so sleepy for the rest of the morning. We scoffed some sugar and more coffee before heading out for a hike.

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We attempted our first selfie together and figured it out after a couple of tries! It wasn’t easy in the wind.

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In Salcombe, most places are shut after a Sunday roast.. something we only figured out after hungrily wandering round the streets looking for a much-needed dinner.

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We finally found a pub which served the most fantastic fish n chips and even left off the batter for me. I could have cried I was so grateful!

Monday morning involved packing up and leaving, it always makes me sad to go but the gloomy weather made it less painful.

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We zoomed home in record time and picked up a very happy Henry for a walk in his favourite park.

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This dog LOVES my Mum, he was so happy trotting along beside her and kept looking at me with a very content face.

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It was such a great break and very appreciated after a long slog, so glad that the election is over but I’ll miss the craziness in a way.

* Where do you like to holiday?

* Sweet or white potatoes?

I always shun white but those local baby pots have changed my mind!

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This is how it is now

Hello! Did you have a great weekend? How nice was it to have the Bank Holiday!

I was super thankful for the extra day of rest having worked 12 long days, of course being a reporter at the moment means busy days around the country.

We’re now onto the fifth week of having Henry, our labradoodle puppy, and I finally have this sense of ‘this is how it is now’.

It may sound crazy but James and I felt a sense of sadness at losing our old routines and freedoms after getting Henry, it has been quite a big adjustment.

Now he’s older and we’re more experienced, we’re feeling so much happier and settled. I think sleeping through the night has a lot to do with it too!

Anyway, here’s a snapshot into what we got up to this Bank Holiday weekend – you’ll notice how much a certain someone features in our days now.

Saturday

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Henry does this every morning. We don’t let him on the bed but he always seems to want cuddles when he wakes up, so squishes himself against the mattress.

We went for quite a big walk in the morning to Clifton, where we used to drive Henry for his little walks in the first few weeks.

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He visited the beautiful graveyard and met a few old friends, it was sweet to see how much they recognised each other.

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Breakfast was a fabulous mix of banana pancakes, local bacon and berries. It was then time for chores before James and I did some food shopping.

In the afternoon, we picked up Rufus in the car and took both dogs to Ashton Court for an explore.

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Henry really learns from Rufus, he’s so far developed a love of muddy water and stick chewing.

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And Rufus is so tolerant with Henry! We’re just so happy we met Rufus, without him I don’t think we’d have Henry or nearly as much joy in our lives.

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How could you not smile with those two in the back?! They grumble together like two old women when I wait at a red light or drive round a tight corner. So funny!

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Dinner was a fishy mix of mackerel, cod, mashed sweet potato and steamed cavolo nero, asparagus and purple broccoli.

Sunday

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Henry took advantage of our attempt at a lie in and spent the time destroying his cardboard tube.

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The worst part is that we can’t hoover up the cardboard pieces so each one has to be picked up by hand. But he is so happy doing it, I can’t bring myself to take it away.

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Oh the weather was dreadful on Sunday in Bristol! We walked Henry and picked up some bananas and papers, we were all soaked through.

After breakfast, I left the boys to it and headed to Gloucester where my colleague and his wife were (very bravely) having a housewarming BBQ.

I picked them up a few goodies from Gloucester Services, still love that place!

In the evening, we took Henry to Leigh Woods for his evening trundle and checked out Luke Jerram’s new installation, Withdrawn.

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I’d popped into Wholefoods and M&S in Cheltenham post BBQ so we had lots of goodies awaiting us in the fridge, including this lovely pork.

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We have a grilling obsession at the moment, if you can’t tell haha!

Monday

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Another morning, another attempt to make mischief by Henry! He couldn’t understand why we wouldn’t want this lovely plantpot, full of soil, in the house.

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We’d bathed Henry on Sunday night and it was amazing to see how white he was in the early morning sunshine.

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Breakfast was more pancakes, along with the delicious berries I picked up on offer at Wholefoods. We then headed down to Gloucestershire to meet my family.

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Henry met my family horse, Bob! And I had kisses with Bob without any antihistamines, which gives me huge hope for my goal.

Mum put on a great spread for lunch and Henry quickly made friends with my aunt and uncle before we headed out for a walk in the woods.

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The bluebells were stunning, they really did carpet the woods.

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Dinner was quick and easy after the drive home, I left it simmering while we finished up the last of the chores.

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So there you have it: good company, good food and good times. Now if we could just add good sleep in (Henry wakes up between 5 and 6 each morning) I’d be ecstatic!

* Do you use a grill? We’re really obsessed with our new George Foreman at the moment.

* What did you get up to over the weekend?

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Eating mindfully: Getting those fruits and veggies in!

Hello there, how is it going? Hope you’re having a fabulous week so far.

Life has been pretty crazy around here recently. Not only do we have a puppy to contend with, my colleague is off for three months following shoulder surgery.

That leaves all the political fun to me, as well as any Royal Baby news. I’m definitely feeling ready for it having worked a particularly busy weekend…

Eating well is something that is non-negotiable now Henry is in my life – especially avoiding wheat, dairy and gluten – as I can’t afford a flare up with pup and work.

I’ll save you a billion picture of the puppy today because I want to talk about how I’m cramming in those fruits and vegetables despite a hectic work and life schedule.

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Even Henry knows the importance of getting those greens in ;)

I was asked to write about mindful eating and how I eat enough of the good stuff by Legal and General to mark the release of their life insurance calculator.

My general rule is to include a fruit or vegetable at every meal, which is definitely challenging when I’m busy running around after the puppy/news.

This is pretty much how I make it work though:

Breakfast

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If I have time, banana pancakes are a must! I can cram in a banana (in the pancake mix) and berries – that’s two portions towards my five-a-day in one delicious sitting.

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Usually, I’ll grab a couple of Nakd bars. I know it’s a lot of sugar for breakfast etc but they’re my tried and tested favourite – and a portion of fruit every bar!

Lunch

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I am in love with salads at lunchtime, the more greenery the better! I love bulking them up with olives, artichoke, green beans and asparagus – the more the merrier.

Soup is also a fabulous option, I love having it when I’m on the road as there’s different choices in the different locations I’m in. I usually add a salad in too!

Snacks

Of course, my favourite snack is apples and almond butter, another portion of fruit paired with some delicious healthy fats.

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I also love having a pot of Coyo coconut yoghurt, if you buy their fruity versions they do contain actual fruit.

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Then there are the treats I go for to keep me sane! I am totally addicted to Raw Choc Pies at the moment, especially their fruity versions.

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The raspberry and black pepper is my favourite flavour so far, I can’t get enough!

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Of course Rawr chocolate isn’t packed with fruit or veggies but it is totally scrumptious and keeps me away from the dairy chocolate I’m allergic to.

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One of my favourite pre-dinner snacks is a handful of fresh radish! The bitter crunch is so good, especially with some avocado.

Dinner

Every dinner we eat is based around either salad or vegetables, it’s just the way we roll and makes it so much easier to eat well.

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We do need to stop eating quite so many sweet potato fries but they are so convenient and tasty!

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I’m also a fan of using veggies instead of meat as the main, this one had a roasted red onion instead of our usual protein.

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Vegetable packed soups are yummy and really easy to cram veggies into. This one was cod, onions, courgette, bone broth, parsley, garlic and lots of chilli.

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I did a lovely veggie and chicken sauté the other night, the sweet potato chips were a bit of an odd addition but the whole dish was quick and easy.

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Of course, using veggies in place of noodles is a brilliant way of topping up your five-a-day.

This free range pork bolognese featured tomatoes, peppers, courgette, onions and courgetti!

 * Favourite fruit and vegetable? 

* Are you mindful about getting fruits and veggies in or has it become a habit?

I remember when I used to count them each day to make sure I was hitting five, it’s a good exercise if you’re struggling to get them in! Especially if you use stickers ;)

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