Real Food Resources: Podcasts

“Day two of gluten free, dairy free diet. WHAT CAN YOU PEOPLE ACTUALLY EAT!?!?”

“Have you ever heard of paraben-free shampoo?”

“Wait.. so they’re healthy pancakes? For breakfast? Are you sure?”

I’m a fully paid-up member of the healthy living club and have been years now. I’ve been fortunate enough to see several nutritionists, spend hours in health food stores, read piles of books and – in my mind most importantly – follow dozens of inspirational blogs.

What I often forget is that although I’m happily sat in the healthy living bubble, interacting with others in similar positions, many of my friends, family and others out there are not.

When I received the above questions in less than a day, I decided to do something about it and write an easy how-to series on this blog, documenting what I’ve learned.

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It’s my belief that pretty much all of us in this healthy living community have a wealth of information – we just don’t realise how helpful it could be to someone outside of it.

I’ve been reminded this quite a bit recently in different ways: a friend embarking on a weight loss challenge, another being diagnosed with a gluten intolerance etc.

So Real Food Resources is my way of saying “here you go” – an easy place for me (and you perhaps) to refer such people to for a starting point.

My first topic is one that has provided me with so much information and support: podcasts. You can listen anywhere and anytime – they’re simply brilliant!

Balanced Bites

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Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe are funny, informed and approachable. This was the first podcast I listened to and I still look forward to it each week! The paleo pair interview experts, answer readers’ questions, give tips on farm life and cooking and are basically awesome. You can dive right in by listening to the newest episode or even use their archive to search topics that suit your needs.

Subscribe on iTunes here

If you love Liz as much as me, you’ll enjoy Modern Farm Girls and Real Food Liz Radio, while Diane is as inspirational as ever on Build A Badass Business.

The Paleo View

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Nutrient density is a key word you’ll hear a lot on The Paleo View, where Stacy Toth and Sarah Ballantyne talk science, nutrition, lifestyle, working out and more. Both Stacy and Sarah lost well over 100lbs following a paleo diet so they know a thing or two about making it work while tackling motherhood and busy careers (did I mention they’re both authors of multiple tomes?). They chat with experts, answer questions and tackle relevant topics with a humorous, considered approach.

Subscribe on iTunes here

Strongwoman Radio

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Vivian Nguyen teams up with aforementioned Stacy Toth for a hilarious, witty and simply fabulous podcast about ‘lifting heavy things’. I’m not (currently) lifting anything heavier than shopping bags full of sweet potatoes but I still adore listening to this podcast for motivation to exercise, go outside my comfort zone and embrace being a strong, independent woman!

Subscribe on iTunes here

The Fat Burning Manfmb

From strong women to a strong man – Abel James’ podcast featured heavily in my early listening days and still does now. I remember walking round and round a short circuit by my flat one day just mesmerised at the information and conversations he was having (the episode was Pedram Shojai: Life as a Hunter-Gatherer). Honestly? Not every episode is for me and I don’t agree with everything on it (immunisation, smart drugs, fasting..) but it’s always worth giving it a go.

Subscribe on iTunes here

Happy Health Chat

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Representing the British contingent, Laura Agar Wilson and Kezia Hall have recently launched HHC and I just know it’s going to be brilliant. They’re both bubbly, informed and lovely Northerners who advocate a balanced, holistic approach to health. As health coaches, Laura and Kezia have a wealth of experience and information. Well worth a listen – if only to break up all those American and Canadian accents!

Other podcasts in my rotation

There are only so many hours in a week but when I do have a bit of extra time, I love to widen my listening habits and can recommend the following:

Low Carb Conversations - with Jimmy Moore and Dietician Cassie

Livin La Vida Low Carb - with Jimmy Moore

Revolution Health Radio - with Chris Kresser

Paleo Magazine Radio - with Tony Federico

The Wellness Guys Show - with Damian Kristof, Brett Hill and Laurence Tham

* What podcasts do you listen to? Any recommendations? 

* Do you often get questions from friends/family about healthy living?

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Review: Gaiam Balance Ball Chair

Almost exactly a year ago, I spent hours looking for an affordable office chair that would support my back and keep me as healthy as possible, given my long working hours.

My research led me to the Gaiam Balance Ball chair and after reading reviews, watching videos and debating it for a few days, I (well, my company..) made the investment.

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I’d suffered with a bad back (to the extent I really, really resented sitting down at work) and had come to the conclusion that’s just what 12 hours of sitting did to you…

… Unless you forked out thousands of pounds for a special orthopaedic chair and chiropractor sessions, which is what my then boss did to alleviate his pain.

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I picked the balance ball chair for a number of reasons:

- Functions both as a chair and an exercise ball

- Ergonomic back support and spinal alignment

-  Strengthens your core as you sit

- Easy assembly

- Anti-burst ball and light, PVC base

- Rolling wheels (because desk work equals wheelie chair, right?!)

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I paid £79.95 for a Balance Ball Chair Bonus Kit, which included a resistance band, cord and workout DVD and was really impressed by Gaiam’s speedy delivery and customer service (I exchanged a few emails with the team as I had some questions).

Assembling the chair was pretty easy, the trickiest part was working out how hard I wanted my ball to be – just like inflating a balloon or air bed!

It came with its own pump too, so I didn’t have to worry about buying the correct one, which was a bonus.

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As soon as I got on the ball, I loved it! It is recommended that you build up your stamina with it, using it for an hour or so a day at first, but I jumped straight into full days.

I’m so happy that I forgot to write this review for an entire year because I can tell you how much I love my chair, it’s truly the best work buy I’ve made!

My bad back only happens following long car journeys and I feel much more energised sitting on something that bounces (endless fun during long afternoons).

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The ball is perfectly comfortable – as long as you sit on it correctly – and I never accidentally fall off or roll around on it.

When I do go back to working in an office, rather than at home, I’ll be bringing my ball with me. I can’t imagine sitting at an office in anything else!

* What do you sit on while you work?

* Would you use a balance ball chair?

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Dog Days

After reading American blogs for years, I finally caught myself typing the words: “Happy Hump Day” this morning..

I once spent four months in America and came back with a dodgy accent and words such as ‘candy’ ‘trash’ ‘wa-der’ and the phrase ‘are you serious’.

My family were delighted of course ;)

Moving away from those days and on to dog ones! I’ve been lucky enough to have lots of puppy company recently.

Friday

Friday was supposed to be quick and easy but as is always the way, ended up with me stuck in a super-long court hearing that went on so late I had to write my copy with my laptop balanced on a bin outside the court house (everything had closed).

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But all that was quickly forgotten when a certain little friend came to meet me at court! We walked Rufus, had playtime and left him very content.

Our neighbours had warned us they were having a huge bash over the weekend, so I popped two antihistamines before bed…

Saturday

.. and didn’t wake up until gone midday on Saturday! The first thing I heard was “Claire, it’s the afternoon… We need to have pancakes now.”

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There are worse things to wake up to! We headed out for a walk to pick up ingredients and James picked up some fabulous locally made biltong.

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All natural, gluten-free, made with local beef and flavoured with simply herbs and spices.

The rest of the day was shopping and admiring all of the lovely Christmas gifts, I can’t wait for the festive season to officially begin!

dinner

Sweet potato, sprouts, marinated pork, salad, avocado

Dinner was a plate full of autumnal flavours, I loved the local sprouts – they were perfectly sweet and had a great texture.

Sunday

James and I finally went for a run, which felt so humbling. The hills in Bristol never get easier!

We conquered 5.3 miles and somehow ended up finishing at the health food shop, no idea how that happened ;)

When we reached home, there was a knock at the door from our neighbour who had been let down by his dog minder hours before leaving for Paris.

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Could we possibly look after Albi, his bearded collie puppy, for the night? (I think you can imagine my over enthusiastic “we’d LOVE to” and beaming smile!).

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Naked pork burgers with gluten-free mustard, salad and greens

After hours of games of fetch, cuddles and fun, we were ready for dinner and a relax. We also tucked into a box of Hotel Chocolat autumn truffles, they were so good!

Meeko the hamster was feeling a little left out so I allowed him to do one of his favourite things – scampering across a freshly made bed in search of treats.

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Monday

We’d been told the dog minder would arrive at 7am, so set our alarms super early so we could have a play and walk before.

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Is there a better way to start a Monday morning? I think not! We gave her lots of cuddles, then shut the door and began the working day.

A couple of hours later we decided to check she’d been collected and found she hadn’t, so James played with her while her owner tried to contact the minder.

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We kept her company and I took her out for a walk while answering work calls “Hello, yes, just looking at my laptop now – NO, NOT THE SQUIRREL.. Sorry, erm silly Firefox”.

The dog minder was still AWOL at 12pm so I carried Albi up to our flat for some company (she was whining every time we left), where she remained until he arrived at 2pm.

Our dog day wasn’t over yet though – we had a pre-planned date with Rufus in the early evening!

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We had a fantastic time at the park, he made lots of friends as usual and was so well behaved. Puppies are fun but it was a relief to spend time with such a polite boy.

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After playtime with Rufus, we headed home to fill up on snacks – we had a bouldering lesson to get to!

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Primal Kitchen hazelnut and cocoa bar

It’s safe to say we were both super tired after our busy day but we made it through the lesson (mainly safety briefings).

I started beating myself up a bit when I achieved the lowest score on the climbing challenges out of the group but now I know I was simply exhausted.

Next time I’ll hopefully do better!

* Have you ever returned from a trip with a new accent/vocabulary?

* How do you cope with doing badly during a workout?

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Eats and Animals

Oh hey Friday!

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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 :)

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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.

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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.

Eats

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!

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

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

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Salmon with salad, avo, tenderstem and asparagus

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Banana pancakes at the weekend

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Pork chop with avo, salad, sweet pot and onion

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

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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!

Animals

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Grilled salmon with tenderstem, asparagus, salad and avocado

Saturday

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.

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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..

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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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

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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Fri-YAY!

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)!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 ;)

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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!

Eats

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

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A big bowl of tenderstem and asparagus as an afternoon snacklet

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Vanilla coyo with organic raspberries

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Craving all the greens! 

Feats

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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