Month: June 2012

Celebrations!

Hello there!!

I am so so sorry for my disappearing act over the last week, I never meant to be quite so absent from the blogworld.

Firstly my laptop broke and had to be sent off to be fixed, then I was up in Durham for three days for Tom’s graduation and on top of all of that the house has been completely chaotic since I got back from uni as we are currently swapping round three of the rooms (my bedroom, Alice’s room and the study) so there are boxes everywhere!

I practically never disappear from my blog and twitter for so long and it actually feels a little odd… I think I am slightly addicted to using the internet. Oh well.

Because I haven’t had complete access to a computer I’ve also been mainly absent from your blogs for which I apologise profusely! I have so much to catch up on so if you have any really important blog posts make sure you point me in their direction!

Basically today I just want to share a few updates with you, namely the fantastic event which took place on Wednesday:

Doesn’t Tom look handsome in his robes?

I now have a graduate boyfriend with a fantastic Masters in Civil Engineering and I couldn’t be any prouder!

It was a really lovely day, the ceremony was wonderful – it took place in the cathedral and it was brilliant to watch Tom walk up the¬†aisle and shake hands with the Chancellor. I can’t wait to see the official photographs from the day ūüôā

I’m a lucky girl to have such an amazing person as my boyfriend ūüôā

We enjoyed a really lovely meal in the evening with Tom’s family and a couple of his friends and their families. I decided not to take photos of the food as I just wanted to relax and enjoy the night with Tom and his family but I promise it was all delicious!

So there we are, that is what I have been doing all week. I will now be back to blogging daily as always! And the next post probably won’t be as soppy either ūüėČ

Have you ever been to a graduation ceremony? (Maybe your own!)
What have you been upto this week?

Weekly Workouts.

Hey lovelies!

My laptop has been sent off to be repaired so fingers crossed that I get it back soon as, although I hate to admit it, I’ve become rather reliant on it for my everyday life (a little sad I know). We do have a laptop in the house which is sort of spare (it’s actually my dad’s laptop but he doesn’t use it during the daytime) but unfortunately the timing is pretty poor and the charger has just about given up! The good news is we’ve ordered another the charger…

Now as it is Monday I want to go over my workouts from last week and write up my plan for this week. Last week was a so-so week, it started really well but then about halfway through the week I got really awful cramps which forced my exercising routine to be put on hold.

Here’s a rundown of last week:

Monday¬†‚Äď ¬†20 min stretch session + 20 min ab work + a walk around the neighbourhood with my mum ūüôā

Tuesday¬†‚Äď 30 Day Shred. This didn’t happen, basically my mum and I cycled into town to buy my new mattress and to do a spot of shopping and we ended up cycling about 4 miles and did a fair bit of walking so I didn’t have the energy when I got back.

Wednesday Р3 mile cycle + 30 Day Shred which felt really good after so long!

Thursday Р3 mile cycle + 20 minute strength workout

Friday¬†30 Day Shred Friday is when the cramps started so from there on there was no way I was going to workout. Maybe some people can but I’m talking cramps that make me double over in pain so I don’t see how people can.

Saturday 45 min full body strength workout

Sunday РRest day

So although the week didn’t quite go to plan I am fairly pleased with myself for making a really good start. Getting back into exercising regularly is pretty tough at times, even though I love to stay fit and actually mostly enjoy working out I just find myself feeling really exhausted and energy-less most of the time.

Anyway, despite a couple of setbacks I’m determined to keep it up so here is a rough outline of my plans for this week:

Monday¬†‚Äď ¬†2 mile cycle ride + a workout from my Women’s Fitness magazine

Tuesday¬†‚Äď 20 min ab work

Wednesday¬†‚Äď Tom’s graduation day so lots of walking therefore no scheduled workout!

Thursday¬†‚Äď 30 min upper body workout

Friday¬†‚Äď 30 Day Shred

Saturday¬†‚Äď 3 mile cycle + 20 min stretch/ab work

Sunday¬†‚Äď Rest Day

Hopefully most of my plans will come into fruition and I’ll end the week feeling a little more energised than the last! Despite battling the pain and the fatigue, I feel like my condition doesn’t have to get in the way of a healthy lifestyle and exercising is one of the things that I am going to try to continue for as long as I can. I know that despite the drained feeling I struggle with most days, working out will help me to feel better so it’s worth it!

Do you have any workout plans for the week?
Why do you exercise? And how do you motivate yourself when feeling tired?

What did you get up to this weekend? 

Currently…

Reading…¬†

To the Lighthouse¬†by Virginia Woolf. I adore this book, I’m on page 161 so I’m nearing the end and so far the writing has completely captivated my imagination. I’ve copied down a couple of quotations because it was just such beautiful writing. Woolf is definitely one of my absolute favourite authors and I have already decided that I want to read¬†The Waves¬†on holiday.

Listening to…

I’m struggling with this one as I’m currently writing this post from the spare laptop so I don’t have my itunes. However I was enjoying a bit of¬†LADYHAWKE earlier, don’t know where it came from really!

Watching…

Today has been a day for packing up heaps of my stuff to move so naturally I needed a sitcom to watch, I’ve watched all of the available episodes of 2 Broke Girls so I’m now watching Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23. It’s pretty funny, not quite as good as 2 Broke Girls though…

Loving…

Being wrapped up in my duvet when it’s raining outside, drinking warm chocolatey mochas in town, the excitement of moving and decorating bedrooms, nude lipstick, the fact that I’m seeing Tom tomorrow, Green & Blacks white chocolate.

Anticipating…

Here is some of the exciting news I’ve been promising you: in just twelve days I’m going to be headed to Paris! A couple of weeks ago my mum texted me and asked if I fancied going to Paris for five nights and of course I was¬†ecstatic. The four of us are so looking forward to the trip as it’s been years since we last visited the city. If you have any recommend for places to visit, places to eat, things to see etc I’ve love your suggestions!

What are your currently-s?
Have you got any exciting news to share?

I’m sorry I’ve been so absent from the blogworld, my laptop had to be sent in for repairs so I don’t have complete access to the internet, I am still reading your blogs as much as I can!

What I Ate Wednesday No.35

I can’t believe that I’m on my 35th WIAW, in fact, I can’t believe that it has almost been a year since I first started blogging.

Time certainly flies.

So as usual, you must know the drill by now, it is once again time to link up for What I Ate Wedneday thanks to the gorgeous Jenn of Peas and Crayons!

This month’s WIAW has a theme: sensible snacking. This is something I struggled with during the years of fighting negativity towards food, I either didn’t want to touch food in between meals and savoured the feeling of physical hunger in my stomach, or I caved in and ate more than I was comfortable which lead to guilt.

Needless to sat, it was not a pleasant cycle to be stuck in.

However, with the progress I have been making in leaps and bounds in recent months, snacking has become much simpler. I love to eat, we all know that, and now if I feel hungry between meals then I do just that.

When I woke up this morning the sunshine was streaming in through the open window (I have overhead windows that I leave slightly open at night to stay cool) which just made me smile. It’s amazing how much nice weather can lift your spirits. The sky was blue with a dusting of soft clouds gently drifting by.

As it was still reasonably early I stayed in bed and read for half an hour, I’m currently reading¬†To the Lighthouse¬†by Virginia Woolf and I absolutely love it, it’s beautifully written and captivates the imagination. She is fast becoming my favourite writer…

Breakfast this morning was delicious:

Weetabix soaked in milk, and then topped with frozen raspberries and fresh blueberries, plus a sprinkling of ground flaxseed and almonds.

I spent the next half hour organising my things, sending and replying to emails and sorting out my plans for next week. After posting my weekly workout schedule on Monday I actually ended up switching a few things round, yesterday I actually cycled over 4 miles and walked around a lot so I was too sore to do the 30 Day Shred. No problem there, I decided to do it this morning!

Jillian certainly worked me hard this morning! After about a month without doing this dvd I definitely felt that familiar ache, it feels so good to be fighting to be active again though. I really want to keep up this exercise momentum…

Post-workout I filled my hungry stomach with this bowl of tastiness:

Sometimes it is the simple food that satisfies us the most, this was just a bowl of natural yogurt and sliced banana but somehow it tasted brilliant. I think I was just hungry after working out and showering…

After eating, my mum and I decided the weather was just right to go elderflower picking. Every summer for the last few years my mum has made a delicious cordial with fresh elderflowers picked from the borders of meadows near our house.

The smell of elderflower is filling our kitchen right now and is just heavenly, can’t wait to try the beautifully bottled cordial, it’s perfect for the summer months.

I met up with one of my favourite people for lunch today, one of the closest friends I made in Sixth Form, the lovely Baiba. She appreciates good food and always has heaps to talk about so she makes rather excellent lunch company!

We shared two plates of food as that means you get to try two dishes:

On the left is a potato and onion pie with salad and balsamic dressing, on the right is avocado salsa and artisanal breads. Pretty delish!

Which we both washed down with a really tasty drink of pear and elderflower. As you can see I’m on a bit of an elderflower kick at the moment.

After lunch we did a spot of window shopping – the end of the spring term invariably means that us students are all currently a bit low on cash…

Not too low for coffee though ūüėČ

I had an iced caramel latte, it’s half gone here as I almost forget to take a photo before remembering I was sharing my snacks!

This evening, whilst dinner was cooking, I dipped into a bag of pistachio nuts which for some reason remind me of being on holiday in France. I find breaking open the shells strangely satisfying.

Dinner itself was lemon chicken with pesto coated new potatoes and green salad.

Doesn’t it look amazing?¬†I’ve really been loving the gorgeous, fresh, summer-y meals we’ve been having as of late, my body is feeling the benefits too. My skin is looking great and I have more energy than usual, it’s brilliant.

In other news my wonderful boyfriend, Tom, got his finals results today and did really¬†really¬†well! I’m so proud and happy for him, I just had to mention it ūüôā

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently?
Have you ever made your own cordial?

What’s making you feel positive at the moment?¬†

Red Onion & Sun-dried Tomato Spaghetti.

Hey lovelies!

I hope everyone’s week is going well so far. Here in the east of the UK we finally have some sunshine! I can’t tell you how much it lifted my spirits when I spied blue sky through my open window this morning upon waking up. It was so warm and just felt like it is actually the summer, we have sorely been in need of nice weather, I have definitely had enough of the cold and rain.

I’ve had quite a busy day which I love and have got lots done. I keep promising to give you all of the exciting news I have so I will give you a little¬†snippet: I’m moving bedroom! Probably doesn’t sound that exciting but basically at the moment I have the loft conversion bedroom which has an en suite bathroom but as it’s the biggest room/only bedroom with an en suite, it’s only fair that my sister has it for a couple of years. So¬†I’m moving back to the first floor which means I’m getting to do up a new room ūüôā I’m really excited and today my mum and I went into town to buy me a new mattress for my brand new double bed! So happy you have no idea.

My new mattress will just be a¬†dream.¬†It’s so soft, comfortable and just gently moulds around your body. It may not seem a big deal to some of you but when you suffer from chronic pain and fatigue a wonderful bed can mean the difference between a horrific night’s sleep with a morning of awful pain, and a decent night and just a little morning stiffness…

Anyway today I have a lovely pasta recipe to share with you. It’s so easy to make and one of my favourite quick dinners.

I love the taste of red onions cooked in olive oil and combined with the sun-dried tomatoes I think there is a very Mediterranean flavour to this dish, it reminds me of summer evenings spent lounging about on patios watching the sunset and eating gorgeous breads, dips and salads created from fresh food bought at sleepy markets.

The balsamic vinegar and red onions give this a slight sweetness which contrasts perfectly with the bite and peppery taste of the rocket.

Personally I think this dish is a wonderfully simple sophisticated dish.

Red Onion & Sun-dried Tomato Spaghetti. 
adapted from Jamie Oliver’s The Return of the Naked Chef

Ingredients
(serves 4)

 320g spaghetti
1 red onion
2 handfuls of sun-dried tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt
enough rocket for 4 people
grated Parmesan for garnish

Put the spaghetti on to cook in a large pan of boiling water along with a generous pinch of salt.

Whilst the water starts to boil, heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan. Peal and finely chop the red onion, throw it in the pan with the oil and then gently fry for approximately 5 minutes on a low heat.

As the onion cooks chop the sun-dried tomatoes into smallish chunks (I find it easiest to use scissors for this). Once the onions are starting to turn a little clear add the sun-dried tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 5 minutes on the lowest heat possible.

Drain the spaghetti and return it to the pan. Pour over the red onion and sun-dried tomato oily mix, add the rocket and stir to combine. Season to taste.

Serve in bowls, sprinkle with a little Parmesan and tuck in!

I’m thinking of posting a recipe or two weekly, I’d love it if you let me know whether that’s something you’d be interested in reading on the blog more often!

Hope you’re all having a brilliant week so far and that you have good weather where you are ūüôā

Anything particularly pleasant about your Tuesday this week?
Which flavours remind you of holidays in the summer?


Active Aims!

Ah I do enjoy a bit of alliteration. Sorry for those of you who find them cloying, what can I say, I’ve always had a soft spot for the cheesiness of phrases made up of words beginning with the same letter!

I have always liked Mondays. I know a lot of people hate Mondays because it means back to school/work and there are a whole five days until the next weekend, but I like them because I love the feeling of starting afresh. It’s the same reason that I enjoy the New Year, I like to be able to form new goals for the week ahead of me, and have a whole week to plan. It appeals to the side of me that warms to productivity and organisation.

You may remember my mentioning that I was going to create a blogging schedule for myself and I have finally put a weekly plan together. Funnily enough, even though I am an organised person who meticulously plans out most aspects of my life, blogging has always been a very spontaneous activity for me, even a little sporadic at times.

I’ve typically just posted whatever I felt like writing, usually posts end up being a summary of my day or just random musings. It’s not to say that I don’t enjoy random musings, I do, but I have a journal for that purpose, I want my blogging to become more focused and thus a schedule is required.¬†It’s not super strict or anything, after all this isn’t my job it is purely for enjoyment.

I’ve also been wanting to get back into a better routine when it comes to fitness. Last month exercise got pushed to one side as coursework writing and revising for my exams took up pretty much all of my time and energy, then for the past two weeks I’ve been walking at least a couple of miles everyday so couldn’t really workout as well. However, I am home now so working out can take precedence once more!

So I’ve decided that Monday’s are going to be assigned to fitness, each week I will (loosely) plan out my exercise for the week and reflect on the previous week. It’s hardly a new concept.

I’m hoping this week will look something like this:

Monday – ¬†20 min stretch session + 15 min ab work + a walk around the neighbourhood (I’m still pretty sore and tired from the weekend)

Tuesday – 30 Day Shred. I’ve really missed working out with Jillian!

Wednesday Р3 mile cycle + 20 min ab work

Thursday Р3 mile cycle + 30 min upper body strength workout

Friday Р30 Day Shred

Saturday Р45 min full body strength workout

Sunday РRest day

I think that sounds pretty reasonable and definitely achievable at this point in time. Working out 6 days out of 7 initially sounds quite intense but when you look at some of the workouts they are quite gentle so I think it will do me good. I will have to let you know how I get on!

Today was my first day of eating more healthily again and it’s been really pleasant, I feel as though my body is already feeling the benefits. It’s been a day full of fresh fruit and veg ¬†which has been a real treat ūüôā

Breakfast was a bowl of weetabix with milk, fresh blueberries and topped with a teaspoon of ground nuts and seeds mix. Nutritious and tasty!

Lunch was leftover chicken from a barbecue my parents had this weekend along with a delicious salad of yellow courgette and rocket with a lemony dressing. So fresh and perfect for pretending that we are having summery weather…

For the last two weeks I have had smoothies on the brain. Seriously, I almost got to the stage where I was dreaming¬†about smoothies, I’ve been craving tall glasses full of beautiful fruity drinks and now that I’m home I definitely intend to take advantage of having both my kitchen and a lot more fruit to choose from!

For my first smoothie I decided to go with a simple creation – I blended up a banana, a handful of fresh strawberries, a handful of ice, 150ml of milk and half a teaspoon of vanilla extract. So so good, I will be drinking many more smoothies this week ūüôā

Finally dinner which was also full of fresh vegetables.

We had a summer green vegetable salad which included various beans, peas, spinach and asparagus (one of my favourites) and a pesto potato salad.

So there you have my weekly workout plan, please please hold me accountable, I really want to get back into regular exercise!

Do you have a workout schedule?
Any motivational tips for me?
What have you got planned for the week?

Aaaand Relax.

Hey lovely ladies! (And gentlemen??)

I am home sweet home and just so relieved. The journey was particularly slow as we had my bike strapped to the back of the car and it always feels so precarious, not matter how many bungee cords and ties you use to secure it.

As you may have seen if you follow me on twitter¬†somebody¬†decided to throw out the food I had left in my freezer so I had nothing to eat for my breakfast this morning. I thought I had been so smart by leaving a couple of English muffins in the freezer as I had a pot of honey in my cupboard and that would be great for my last breakfast but anyway… I texted my dad this morning and asked him if he could bring me something to eat.

He shows up at around 10am with this in tow:

Best dad ever? I think so. There was also a chocolate muffin in a packet which got eaten up in the car so I didn’t take a photo. Definitely a good way to start the journey!

My mum is amazing too as she was there waiting for us when we finally got home and had a delicious lunch in front of me within half an hour of my walking through the door. I’m definitely being spoiled today but I am not complaining.

Lunch was a homemade beef burger with salad and a little piece of baguette. So rustic and tasty, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall gets it just right once again!

The afternoon was pretty much spent relaxing. I’m not going to lie, not much unpacking has been going on… I’ve already decided tomorrow shall be made up of a morning stretch and physio session, followed by some pampering, unpacking of the important things, an afternoon cycle and some more relaxation. Sound like a plan?

Dinner was pretty fantastic too, we had a gorgeous tomato tart with a courgette salad to begin with…

It’s just such an appetizing looking plate and it tasted so fresh. My favourite sort of meal ūüôā

Not that it stops there, dessert followed!

That traditional English dessert of Eton Mess, one of my favourite summer treats. Broken up homemade meringue, fresh strawberries stirred into whipped cream mixed with natural yogurt. Such a beautiful indulgence.

Speaking of indulgence, as you can tell from my blog posts over the last couple of weeks, lately my diet has become rather indulgent. I’ve been feeling a lot more comfortable ¬†with my body and my relationship with food is finally starting to become a lot more positive, however I’m beginning to feel the effects of all of this heavy food. Although I’m not letting myself feel guilty for any of it as I had the most amazing time with Tom and enjoyed every bite I ate but I do want to take a step back from it all. I feel as though I need a bit of a cleanse so I’ve decided that for the next week I will be sticking to three main meals a day consisting of whole grains, lean proteins and lots of vegetables, eating fruit for snacks and staying completely clear of processed foods and sweet treats. I’m not doing anything as drastic as a detox, I just want to eat really healthily and focus on other parts of my life ūüôā

I hope you’ve all had a really great weekend!

What have you been upto this weekend?
What do you like to do when you’ve been indulging lots?

Have you ever done a detox?