Eats and Feats

My mind went something like this when I woke up today: “Oooh! Friday!” *pause* “OH. Friday. EEEEEEK!”

Although I am delighted to be cruising to the end of an eventful working week, this weekend will be a testing one in many ways.

First up, tomorrow I go to London to celebrate my sister’s 21st (again!), then Sunday is the half marathon, which is filling me with thoughts of dread at the moment.

To top it off, I’m working in Wales late Sunday night to the early hours of Monday. Then up with the larks at 6.30am on Monday for the working week.

I think you can expect any blog posts next week to be ‘zzzzzzzzzzzzzz’ and pictures of me face planting into vats of coffee and almond butter!

This week I’ve been in get-better-super-fast mode, having been struck down with a horrific cold last week which really took hold on Monday.

I’ve been trying to cram in as many veggies as possible into my diet and returning back to paleo eating (save for a little dark chocolate every night, nobody’s perfect, right?!).

IMG_6616

My body has been responding really well to daily doses of kombucha, FCLOBB and vitamins, I fell out of habit with all three for a while so its good to be back on it.

I’m definitely not up to full strength yet but things are really settling down so I’m hoping that by Sunday I’ll be recovered enough to finish the course.

I went for my first run in 13 days last night. I was under fuelled, over dressed and thought throwing my pilates battered legs at hills would be a fun way to ease back in.

Yeah, it wasn’t the pre-half confidence boost I was looking for. I stopped and stretched after each mile then called it a day at 5.3.

There were glimpses of joyous running but for most of the time I was panicking about the half, worrying about tripping over a tree root (yes I went off road in pitch dark and rain..) and not battering my legs even more.

I’m still glad I went and I’ve been stretching like a woman obsessed since, so fingers crossed it was just a blip…

Eats

I feel so much happier eating within a paleo framework because I don’t worry about eating the ‘wrong things’, they’re simply not in the equation.

My body is only just settling down from the dairy and sugar bomb that was last week, to think that for days I gleefully thought I was getting away with it. Oh dear!

IMG_6620

Serious fig addiction right here

IMG_6625

Posh lunch of egg, smoked salmon, carrot and asparagus

IMG_6633

Chicken with red onion, garlic, tenderstem, purple kale and avocado

IMG_6642

How many figs can you fit onto a vanilla coyo? (Answer: three!)

IMG_6649

Courgetti, tenderstem, veggie packed free range turkey bolognese

IMG_6675

Salmon with olive and caper tapenade, sweet pot, avo, salad and evoo with balsamic

IMG_6662

These delicious bars every.single.day. Review upcoming! 

Feats

Mon: Off

Tues: Blogilates 45 minutes, handstand practise

Wed: TIU HIIT (it’s a killer!), walking Rufus, handstand practise

Thurs: 5.3 mile run

Fri: to be decided! Probably walking and stretching, oh-so-much stretching!

* How do you recover from a cold?

* What’s your favourite ‘posh’ lunch?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Review: Borrow My Doggy

I felt a flutter of excitement as an email dropped into my inbox, alerting me that new matches had been added, along with pictures of dozens of new profiles.

After quickly clicking through to my account, I scoured through names, ages, locations and interests to find my perfect date.

Dozens of profiles later, one cheeky chap caught my eye. I took a deep breath and nervously texted my boyfriend: “I’ve found the One”.

I was, of course, using Borrow My Doggy, the website which matches dog lovers who can’t have their own to dog owners who are kind enough to share them.

It’s no secret that James and I adore dogs and would love to have one but sadly our circumstances (rented flat, work schedules, hamster) means we simply can’t.

meekodog

So after reading a few reviews, we signed straight up for Borrow My Doggy, paid the £9.99 yearly subscription fee and became devoted to checking our matches.

And like a dating website, obsessing over every little detail in our profile! bmg

To give you some idea of how fast Borrow My Doggy is expanding, we currently have 221 dog matches within three miles of our home address. Amazing, right?

There are breeds from Labradors, Poodles and miniature Dachshunds to Dalmations, Jack Russells and Pyrenean Mountain Dogs.

Owners specify what the dogs are available for, such as grooming, playtime, exercise, love, and sitting, as well as their availability.

There are so many fabulous pooches on our matches but there was one that caught our eye and after I sent James ‘the One’ text, I quickly contacted his owners.

IMG_6670

Rufus is a cardigan welsh corgi and such a handsome chap! We met his owners for a ‘Welcome Woof’ – to see if we all get on – on Saturday.

I loved the meet-up! It was so fun to meet another couple as fond of dogs as us and find out more about Rufus and his globetrotting life so far (born in Sweden, lived in Finland).

Then, last night James and I took Rufus out for a 45 minute walk and it was just wonderful.

IMG_6667

Rufus is an energetic little chap and definitely took us out for a walk rather than the other way round! He was such a bundle of fun and we couldn’t stop smiling.

We can’t wait to take him out again!

I think Borrow My Doggy is a fantastic idea, with lots of extras to make you feel more confident taking someone else’s dog, or letting someone borrow it.

For example, owners are covered by a third-party liability insurance, and have access to a 24/7 vet line along with borrowers.

Borrowing is also great for the dog. My parents live in a small community and when our family dog, Harry-Dog, was younger he was often being borrowed by others.

It meant he had lots of exercise and fresh air and interacted with different people, on different walks and often with lots of doggy friends – paw-fection!

IMG_6668

For James and I, who have time most evenings and weekends and are usually off on a walk anyway, Borrow My Doggy works brilliantly.

I love the website and easy way to contact owners to express interest in their pooch and of course the ‘New dogs in your area this week’ emails are a highlight!

And if you’re not able to devote time to a furry friend, the Borrow My Doggy Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages are full of pictures guaranteed to make you smile.

* Have you used Borrow My Doggy?

* Are you a cat or dog person?

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Eats and No Feats

Wahoo for Friday! I don’t know about you but I’m so, so glad this week is over. I’m really looking forward to starting next week afresh.

Actually, let’s make it the week after as we’re running the Bristol Half Marathon next Sunday and I’m feeling pretty nervous about it.

First up, this week I’ve done zero exercise. As in, diddly squat. James and I have both been feeling overwhelmed and unwell, time and sleep haven’t been happening.

Secondly, after the half will be a big moment for James and I – our parents are watching the race and then meeting for the first time!

316469_834557764322_101311_n

 

The picture above was taken in 2011 when we were first dating and James met my work colleagues for the first time, I think he was slightly scared!

I know our parents will get on well, I just hope we make it round the course okay to meet them.

Luckily we know where they’re planning to be so we can make sure we’re not walking/crawling/having piggybacks at that stage!

Speaking of nervous, my new car arrived on Monday (just after Harry-Dog died, I was weeping through the handover, much to the bemusement of the man who dropped it off!).

IMG_6579

 

I decided to take a picture of the mileometer after running an errand for my friend. Yup, that’s 12 miles on the clock. It was five when I took delivery of it. Eeeek!

The miles quickly racked up on Tuesday, when I played chauffeur for my Mum who had an operation.

IMG_6583

My sister and I paced round the hospital waiting for news and found this.. reassuring artwork in a corridor. Glad we didn’t see it before she went under!

Mum was a true superstar and so brave, she kept telling us how lovely the anaesthetic (Milk of Amnesia) was. “Michael Jackson was a big fan”, she told the nurses.

IMG_6582We left her to enjoy more of the anaesthetic’s “beautiful” dreams and hit Costa in the hospital for a munch, sip and read session before taking a long walk.

This is how unbelievable my Mum is – after I dropped her off at home she insisted on giving me a neck and back massage. She’s superwoman and doing really well now.

I was crossing my fingers that the rest of the week would be more uplifting work-wise but alas – four deaths and a child abuse case instead.

Last night I didn’t get home until gone 9.30pm, with the bonus of a charming service station dinner/lunch – it’s just been one of those weeks.

Eats

I’m very good at taking pictures of healthy things I eat, however I’m very bad at taking pictures of the not-so-healthy.

Let’s just say many, many boxes of chocolate and walnut whips were consumed this week. It sounds stupid but my main motivation for keeping so strict was to make sure I was able to snuggle Harry-Dog, when that left I just gave up with caring…

…Until the bad skin, mood swings, bloating, sleeplessness and facial swelling kicked in that is! Safe to say I’m very much back on the wagon (as of this morning…!)

As you’ll see, I just wasn’t hungry for proper food, the lump in my throat meant sweet treats took precedence, though I did force lots of veggies down in a bid to make up for it.

IMG_6581

Smoked salmon filled, avo, tomato, purple kale and cavolo nero

IMG_6586

Grilled tuna, purple kale, cavolo nero, cucumber, avocado

IMG_6591

Purple kale, sundried tomatoes, red onion, tomatoes, grilled tuna, lashing of evoo

IMG_6595

Service station dinner in Exeter last night. Tuna salad with coconut yog and an apple.

IMG_6594

Dates and dark chocolate. Times a billion. Nom. 

So, as mentioned, I have no exercise feats to talk about but I can share a picture of my favourite fluffster, Meeko instead!

20140911_215027

He was adorable last night and made a little fortress out of our cushions. He stayed in there for about 10 minutes then nonchalantly burrowed out as if nothing had happened!

Hope you have a fab weekend, thanks for your comments on Harry-Dog – they mean a lot.

* Were you nervous during parents meet the parents?! 

* Any Geocachers here?

My Dad is a big fan and couldn’t think of a better tribute to Harry-Dog than to create a travel bug so he could see the world! If you’re a Geocacher (or not), you can track him here. He’s currently hanging out with his girlfriend, Tinker the golden lab, but will be on his travels soon. Any help getting him around the globe would be much appreciated!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Goodbye Harry-Dog

I feel like I’ve aged about five years in the past five days, so much has happened and I can’t compute today is Wednesday – though I think any day would sound weird.

Before I explain further by recapping the crazy of the last few days, I’ll get the sad news out the way. Our gorgeous, treasured and loyal Harry-Dog died on Monday morning.

18947_262652485916_3393922_n

This is one of my favourite pictures, my sister about to bomb off down the hill with Harry-Dog waiting to chase her down and make sure she made it ok.

It’s two days since he passed and I am only just beginning to feel the ache in my chest. For 15 years, through every milestone, he was a faithful and integral part of our family.

We were so lucky to have him by our side for so long and I feel so glad I was able to see him as often as I did, in the past year especially. He was simply a joy from start to finish.

Friday

IMG_6555

Friday started with a fun five miler wearing my incredibly old Shanalogic t-shirt. It felt really good to go for a run, though we’re still very behind distance wise for the half.

I think the strategy will be try our best! I’d love to get James round sub-2 but I don’t know if that’s possible for me given my training. We shall see!

After running, we drove to the spa for Jen, Mum and I to have treatments ahead of her birthday bash. Let’s just say it wasn’t worth the effort. And £4.75 for a black coffee…

James and I then headed to my Dad’s to see Harry-Dog, who couldn’t simply couldn’t stand up to greet us from his bed.

I turned to call Dad to get the vet and suddenly felt his tail against my knee, the little sausage had rallied.

IMG_6557

We took him for a walk and he was quite happy but as you can see from the picture above, a bit out of it. I felt his sparkle had gone, though he wasn’t in pain.

Friday night was full of preparations for Saturday’s party, and a gorgeous bolognese cooked by Mum and a runner bean salad by my sister.

Saturday

Saturday was such a blur and I took zero pictures. It was full on party mode from the moment we woke up, I couldn’t believe how much there was to do!

We worked flat out decorating our village hall for my sister, decking it with bunting, tea lights, and jam jars of wildflowers Mum and I picked in the morning.

The 24 guests began arriving from 7pm, with canapé served after their arrival.

10668642_1625565424337082_6209202974649138171_oWe had smoked salmon blini, sausages with parma ham and apricot, cherry tomatoes with cheese and sundried toms wrapped in a basil leaf and little rye crackers with cream cheese to start.

The main was roast pork with apple sauce, roasted veggies and potatoes, while pudding was chocolate brownies and individual crumbles with fruit from our garden.

10540686_1625566144337010_1881708393637674963_o

After dessert I had the honour of presenting Jenny with her birthday cake and doing a little speech, while patting her head – not sure why I felt the need for the head pat!

We had the hall until midnight, so the lights went on at 11.30pm and operation clear up began! It was quite a slog, we were all exhausted when it finished.

Sunday

I tiptoed out of bed super early to do the final bits from the party so the others could have an easy morning, then was rewarded with a fry up from my stepdad – very worth it!

James and I decided to visit Harry-Dog before we went back home, a decision I’m so relieved we made.

IMG_6568

He was on such good form, so thrilled to see us and back to his old sparkly self. I spoon fed him marrow from his favourite bone and took him for a play in the park.

IMG_6573

He was a little tired after his walk so I carried him back home. I gave him lots of cuddles and kisses and kept telling him what a good boy he was, seeing him made me so happy.

IMG_6571

We took the train back to Bristol which was painful, leftover birthday cake was needed on an industrial scale when we finally arrived home!

IMG_6575

We also were so excited to get back to our colourful dinners of goodness, it all tasted so clean and good.

Monday

I was waiting for my new car to be delivered when I had a text from my Dad. Harry was down, couldn’t get up and it was time to say goodbye.

The timing couldn’t have been worse – I was unable to leave Bristol due to the car situation for a few hours and the vet was booked for 9.30am (half an hours time).

I initially begged Dad to hold off but he described Harry’s condition and I knew I couldn’t make him hold on, it would have been cruel.

My sister, Mum and Dad surrounded our little man as the vet came. Mum called so I could talk to Harry-Dog as he fell to sleep and he kept licking the phone as he heard my voice.

230075_4585460916_3462_n

Our lovely, loyal doggy died just before 10am, accompanied by people who loved him, who stroked his soft fur as he snored into a deep sleep (he had a sedative before the injection).

2312_62720760916_5554_n

I am so heartbroken I couldn’t be there at the end, I know there’s nothing I could have done but I just wish I’d been able to be. I’m so grateful it was peaceful, that he wasn’t scared.

18947_262652450916_3162353_n

I’m so glad we spent that time with him on Sunday, the day before he died and I was able to tell him how much he meant to me. How he was such a good boy.

375073_10151686621395917_1193749814_n

 Our biggest worry as Harry got weaker was that he’d die stricken, frightened and without dignity. He had none of those things and I’m so thankful we were able to give him such a kind end.

161_9110085916_6368_n

Everything is still raw at the moment, with every memory that floods back and every message from someone who knew him my heart cracks a little more.

I don’t know where I or my family would be if we hadn’t adopted a scruffy mutt puppy back in 1999 but I know we wouldn’t be where we are now.

Harry kept our family as a unit despite my parents divorce, he provided support and company to each of them when they needed it the most and he gave so much to my sister and I, from confidence to kindness and responsibility.

He will be very sorely missed.

291_24682475916_360_n

Posted in Uncategorized | 38 Comments

Eats and Feats

It feels weird to be recapping last week on the beginning of a new one but my weekend has been so packed full that this morning is the first time I’ve turned on my computer.

Last week was a busy one in terms of work, weirdly I ended up bumping into someone I went to university with on a job on Wednesday – it felt very weird seeing him as professionals!

I’ve been struggling with feeling under the weather, I think I’m just a bit run down through stress about a number of things and not sleeping because of it.

Another thing that wasn’t so great about last week was my sugar intake, dates and chocolate became a nightly treat.

They are so delicious but I’ve definitely noticed my body is not as happy as usual, though I was very lucky with it over the weekend despite being exposed to lots of triggers.

Eats

IMG_6469

Pancakes for breakfast/brunch every.single.day. They keep me going for hours!

IMG_6470

Smoked salmon, sundried tomatoes, olives and salad with carrots and tahini for an on-the-go lunch.

IMG_6473

Vanilla coyo is so delicious.

IMG_6476

Smoked salmon filled with sweet pot fries, avocado and salad with balsamic dressing

IMG_6478

Dessert every.single.night – can’t beat that crunch!

IMG_6484

Extra dessert treats this week

IMG_6521

Crunch finger food of smoked salmon, lettuce and carrots and tahini

IMG_6523

All the sesame!

IMG_6527

One-pot haddock with olives, red pepper, onion and garlic with fried prosciutto and purple kale

Feats

IMG_6517

Sun: Blogilates 30 minutes (legs), walk five miles

Mon: Run 5 miles

Tues: Blogilates 40 minutes (abs and cardio)

Weds: Blogilates 40 minutes (legs)

Thurs: off

Fri: Run 5 miles

It felt good to get into a routine with blogilates again, I’ve been doing the Septoneber calendar as much as I can. Monday’s run was an awesome one, we did five miles of hills and fitted in a couple of sub-9 miles in there, always a bonus!

IMG_6466

* Have you ever followed a workout calendar? 

* Do you like sesame?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Taking it slow

All I can think about today is eggs, following the comments on yesterday‘s egg-ellent post. Seriously, from pancakes to omelettes, frittatas to fried and poached to boiled – no yolk!

This weekend was a little bit of a slow one, I was pretty much incapacitated for both days and spent much time in bed. Not quite sure why I still feel tired today but that’s Monday for you!

All I can think is that the ice bucket challenge I did at 7.30am last week was too much of a shock to the system. James made sure there was lots and lots of icy water for me!

20140826_075734

 

It was a pretty exhilarating way to start the day and watching my sister do hers in France almost made up for it! I donated to the mnda association, adding to the £6m raised for them by idiots like me throwing ice over themselves.

Anyway, back to the weekend!

Saturday

I’ve been moaning about my hair needing a cut for oh-so-long but things reached snapping point on Friday when I had enough of it looking like straw and taking over my face.

IMG_6414

I phoned Atelier, a lovely new salon, and booked myself in for a haircut at 12pm, then took two anti histamines to stave off any reaction from products in the salon.

IMG_6418

I treated James to a bumper stack of pancakes, the extra half a banana (I only have half) made his super thick and fluffy, which went down well.

It was then time to nervously make my way to the salon, where the lovely Kat spent 90 minutes cutting off all the frizz, split ends and craziness.

IMG_6428

I’m pretty pleased with the result, it’s choppy and lighter with no more frizz and lots of bounce.

Excuse the slightly frozen expression, the two antihistamines I’d taken pre-breakfast suddenly hit mid haircut and it was like I’d been drugged!

I dozily returned to bed and made the most of having all my reactions switched off to enjoy some dairy chocolates with my new book.

IMG_6438

James found me passed out with book in hand at 4pm and I remained in that position until gone 9pm, when he got me up for some dinner. I was back asleep by 11!

Sunday

We planned a long run in the morning but I woke up still feeling groggy and awful so it was decided we would take it easy for the day.

After a few hours, I was the proud owner of some killer stomach cramps and had to take some painkillers, which knocked me out again!

I perked up in the afternoon to do a big shop and tackle a seven mile walk with James but I must admit I wasn’t great company, everything was so numb!

IMG_6465

Dinner was pretty good though, I sautéed purple kale and courgette noodles and finished up the lovely pork bolognese James made on Saturday night.

I’m so gutted to have been so out of it all weekend, we had to cancel all our plans – meaning no Harry-Dog and no seeing James’ nieces :(

I know it can’t be helped though, it just sucks. Oh and the dairy chocs on Saturday were just heaven, I treated myself to ones made by our local Guilberts.

IMG_5454

(Old pic but does them justice!). The ingredients are pretty good, they’re made super fresh and I love that I’m supporting a historic Bristol company.

Is it crazy to say the puffy skin, itchy throat, spots and rash on my arm I’m now sporting are worth it for a few hours of pure bliss and relaxation when I was feeling rough?

They totally are to me, even if it means I have to live like a saint for the next week so I’m healed before hanging out with Harry-Dog and my sister’s 21st next weekend.

* Have you done the ice bucket challenge?

* How often do you have your hair cut?

Mine was last done in France more than a year ago – oh la la!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

How do you like your eggs..

… in the morning? At lunch? At night? As a snack?

I haven’t always been a huge fan of eggs, but definitely am now, so when British Lion Eggs asked if I was up for writing about them I immediately agreed.

IMG_6442

 

I’m thrilled to be writing about eggs from a Lion egg viewpoint, as food quality, eating homegrown (or home hatched!) produce and animal welfare are important to me.

We either buy our free range eggs from local farms or pick up boxes of The Happy Egg Co, which believes giving hens a happier life means yummier eggs.

IMG_6446

As you might be able to spot, the eggs are each printed with the Lion mark – along with 130 billion others since the scheme launched in November 1998.

The Lion Code of Practice covers the entire production chain, with food safety controls above and beyond those in current UK and EU legislation.

An egg printed with the Lion logo comes from a British hen which has been vaccinated against Salmonella Enteritidis and Salmonella Typhimurium.

There’s a ‘passport’ system in place to ensure traceability of hens, eggs and feed and increased hygiene control and salmonella testing of all flocks in the scheme.

IMG_6441

If you’ve ever wondered what the red stamps on the eggs mean, they correlate to their farm’s code and production method.

A best-before date is also printed on each egg, as well as the box they are packed in.

As an animal lover, it’s important for me to know that I’m buying eggs that match the RSPCA’s Freedom Food standards, including additional roaming space for free rangers.

Since eating more eggs, I’ve been impressed at how much bang you get for your buck in terms of calories in an egg.

IMG_5471

I love adding boiled eggs to lunch boxes as they keep me full for ages and are great for a punch of protein on the go.

Of course, eggs are the key component in my favourite food at the moment – banana pancakes.

IMG_6259

They’re great fried, scrambled, poached (oh runny yolk heaven!), boiled, and for turning fridge leftovers into a fabulous meal of a quiche or omelet.

2014-02-08 19.00.33

If you’re looking for more egg-spiration, keep your eyes peeled for a cracking campaign running from October 6-2 – British Egg Week!

The no yolk week aims to show people how egg-cellent eggs are in terms of value and nutrition.

2013-09-22 14.57.10

 

Last week, as part of the campaign, children were taught how to cook simple egg dishes by Howard Helmer, the world’s fastest omelette maker.

Mr Hemler, a egg-strovert from the US, rustled up an amazing 427 omelettes in 30 minutes to earn his Guinness World Record.

He also holds records for the fastest single omelette (in 42 seconds) and flipping an omelette 30 times in 34 seconds.

I don’t think I can shell out enough praise for those feats…

All white, that’s enough egg puns for one day ;)

* What’s your favourite way to use eggs?

* How long does it take you to make an omelette?

I think I’m still choosing which egg to take out of the box at 42 seconds in!

**Please note: I was compensated by British Lion Eggs for this post but all content is my own**

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments