Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Everyone Has Bad Days

Yesterday was not my best day. It started off really well when I woke up at 6 am to hit the gym for a solo strength training workout. That's right 6 am on a Monday morning! Yay me!  :)

That however was the best bit.

I got home to my almost two year old's howling. A temper tantrum that lasted pretty consistently throughout the entire day. Don't worry he let up a little when I gave him a biscuit. That was when my 3 year old piped in with a tantrum. Ok, I knew what it was, they both woke up at 5 am so they were tired. I cuddled with them both and put them down for naps.

Well, this guy eventually crashed out!

One hour of quiet...when I tidied a bit and did some laundry.

They were awake again. Crying again. No worries, lunch time. They both quietly ate lunch and then started up again. So I gave them both a biscuit. You get the idea. This carried on until supper time. Then there was fighting in the bath. Finally, they both crashed out under the covers at 8 pm! Phew.

I went downstairs to discover the biscuit tin empty. No supper cooked for me and my husband as I caved in and gave the boys a small portion of frozen pizza instead of cooking a family meal. No food in the house, no cheques deposited, no library books returned and no fun activities enjoyed because I just couldn't get out of the house with my two tantrum crazed boys.

Not every day is perfect. I still love both my little superheroes and sent them both to bed with big hugs and kisses.  Today will be a better day! :)

My two superheroes! 
Anyone else have a day like this recently?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Food & Fitness 27th July 2014

Hello, I am back after a busy end of last week and semi-busy weekend.

Last week was a scorcher so we spent a lot of time in the little pool, some time inside keeping cool and some time with friends at the park and at a Gruffalo picnic! Friday night my in-laws came over so that my husband and I could go out for the evening. It was sort of a good bye night with some friend's of my husband as his parents have just moved from his childhood home and we probably won't be back as often to hang out with those particular friends. It was a good night out (although there was a bit of car drama on the way there, which I won't get into. Very scary).

Colouring in expert at work!

Not happy about a photo while eating...whoops!
Not sure what the weather will be for this week but hopefully it will be nice again. The boys are still fascinated by the pool and we have a couple more outside things that we'd like to do. We also have a lot of preparation to do this week as we are heading back to the US to visit with my family for 10 days!! I am so excited! Not sure how blogging will go while I'm out there but I may come up with some options.

Keeping cool in the pool.

Anyway, here is the plan for this week:

Sunday- Swordfish with Spaghetti and Home-made Tomato and Basil Sauce
Monday- Pasta Salad (I know pasta two nights in a row...oh well)
Tuesday- Lamb Chops with Potatoes and Green Beans
Wednesday- Chicken Stir-Fry with Rice
Thursday- Peri-Peri Pork with Sweet Potato Chips and Salad
Friday- Out to restaurant with a friend
Saturday- Take Away (we probably won't have much in the house at this point)

Sunday- Rest
Monday- Strength Training (I promised my trainer an extra day this week)
Tuesday- Spinning
Wednesday- Group Training
Thursday- Running Club 6+k
Friday- Personal Training
Saturday- Rest or Run (depending how ready I am for the flight in the am)

Running with Racheal

Have a great week!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Feeling Upbeat!

A few weeks ago now my personal trainer had a chat with me about nutrition (which I sometimes struggle with) and supplements. I know it sounds scary...but it wasn't!

I think as a busy mum I struggle each day to make sure I am eating enough, not too much and mainly that I am not having too much of the wrong stuff (WHAT?! 5 cups of coffee are not good for me?!).

Since I am also very involved in fitness and try to get a workout of some form in most days of the week (about 5) I need to be fueling my body correctly. I think most of us know the importance of eating a balanced diet and most of us know that that means lots of fruit and veg, but I don't think many of us realise the imporatance of protein in our diets.


  • Protein can be found in your hair, nails, skin, blood, bones and muscles.
  • Your body uses protein to build new cells 
  • It is an essential nutrient that helps us to stay healthy and strong 

I now know that being so busy and working out at a high intensity meant that I probably wasn't getting as much protein as I need, so I needed to find a way of getting quick/healthy protein in my diet.

I have previously tried powdered drinks and I even had a favourite in the US (which can't be bought over here in the UK). I have tried a few brands recently and nothing really worked for me. I have to admit it is also a little intimidating to go into supplement shops and buy up enormous containers of protein mix.

Around the same time I was trying out various protein drinks I was contacted by Upbeat. What fab timing! So I gave it a try. I bought both Strawberry and Blueberry & Raspberry flavours from my local Tescos (super market). Yum!!

Upbeat is 99% whey protein concentrate (from British milk) and real fruit (purée and juice). It also contains a small percentage of pectin (from fruit), lactic acid and some sucralose to add a little sweetness. Upbeat protein drinks are only 150 calories per bottle!

I love the drinks. I found it easy to find and buy, the price was ok for a ready to go protein drink, the taste was good (on both the flavours I tried) and the consistency of the drink was also good (not chalky or too thick).

On the whole I would definitely recommend Upbeat and can't wait to try the Mango & Passion Fruit flavour next!

This post is in association with Upbeat. I was given two free vouchers to try Upbeat, but have gone on to spend my own money on the product. All opinions of the product are my own. Check out Upbeat online at www.feelingupbeat.com.

Furthermore, I am not a trained nutritionist. Please check with your GP/Doctor with regards to any diets or health concerns you may have. 

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Monday, 21 July 2014

Food & Fitness 20th July 2014

Back from another busy weekend! It was a fantastic one though meeting up with friends that we haven't seen in awhile. It was also a bit of a miracle having 11 adults and 11 children under 5 all in one place! :) The weather report called for rain but we were lucky and it had all past by mid morning.

My boys!
On our way home from visiting friends we made a few pit stops; one at a RC air-plane fair and the other at Clumber Park (a National Trust park). The plane bit was exciting for the boys (and especially Daddy) and the park was beautiful and fun to run around and get some energy out.

Real plane in hanger.
We arrived home late last night and all fell right into bed.

This week is supposed to be a scorcher here so we may have to play our eating and fitness by ear but here's the tentative plan:

Sunday- Chicken & Vegetable Soup
Monday- Salmon Fish Cakes with Salad
Tuesday- BBQ Kebabs with Veg and Salad
Wednesday- Home-made Chicken Curry with Rice
Thursday- Pasta Salad
Friday- Sandwiches (or something quick as we'll be going out that night)
Saturday- TBD

Sunday- Active Rest; Walking around Clumber Park
Monday- Might try and get some strength training or a run in tonight otherwise Rest!
Tuesday- Spinning
Wednesday- Group Training
Thursday-Running Club (5+ k depending on my knee)
Friday- Strength Training
Saturday- Rest

Running with Racheal

Hope you all have a good week!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Friday Faves 18th July 2014

Ah, another Friday! I hope that you all had a lovely week.

This weekend will prove to be another fun but busy one. I am so looking forward to it! We are headed down south to visit some friends we haven't seen in about 7 months (at least).

I had originally planned a girlie night out to catch up before one of my friends had her baby, but she had her baby very early at 29 weeks (they are both ok thank goodness) and so she ended up dropping out (she had a fab reason though, little baby boy went home from hospital this week!!). Then, as it turns out I ended up not being able to make it to the girlie night as my husband just started up a new contract and couldn't leave work early enough for me to get down in time :(
However, one of my clever friends had already booked a BBQ for all (husbands and children included) for the next day since we'd all be down anyway! Long story short we're going to make the BBQ!

After a busy week I am ready to chill with some friends and have a few drinks! Can't wait!

But until then, here are my 5 Friday Faves:

1) A new way to eat cereal ;) Out of a plastic egg of course...

2) A new protein drink (more on this to come!). Upbeat.

3) 15 more days till we fly home to the States! The count down has begun :)

4) Wine! In this lovely warm weather we have been having a nice cold glass of white has gone down nicely in the evenings (although I have run out so it might be red tonight).

Our favourite Merlot with pizza!
5) Running. My knee seems to be back in order (knock on wood!). I ran a successful and slow 5k last night, although not without a debacle in the nettles and brambles (I am still sore and swollen today)...don't ask! ;)

Have a fab weekend!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Children's Health Depends On Mums'

A study has recently come out that says a healthy/fit mother is a determinate of her children's fitness and health. See this article and this one.

These days there are so many articles telling you to do this, don't do that, eat this, have this many veg per day, don't have too much xyz, etc...! It can be overwhelming and confusing. I do however think that parents (not just mums) who are active and eat well will have some influence over their children's overall health.

Mummy out for a run!
As a child my parents were both active. They weren't necessarily the run a marathon type of parents but my mom loved to go on walks with our dog and swim in the pool in the summer. My dad was active with soccer. He used to play and then refereed the games. He also enjoyed the occasional hike in the nearby mountains.

I think that both my parents being active helped me to want to be active. I don't however think that their fitness level is the only reason I am active and somewhat healthy nutrition-wise. I have said before that I love the stress relief, etc... (read previous article here) so I don't believe that all children will be active if their parents are and vice versa but I do think it helps.

Last summer we went to Italy on vacation. One early evening we went to the beach. There were many children playing. They were carefree and enjoying the setting sun, the sand, the warm sea, their friends, and whatever games they were playing. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a rather large young boy. Well, to be honest he was probably obese but I am not his doctor so I can only guess. He was sat by himself as when he tried to run and even walk for that matter he couldn't catch his breath, he could barely move. This broke my heart. :( Obviously I know nothing of this boy. I don't know his circumstances but I did see his parents and they were also on the large size. It made me so sad and I decided right there and then that I would encourage my children to get outdoors, play, run, enjoy sport, walk, etc... and try as many healthy foods as they are able so that they won't have to feel left out because of their size.

Wrestling Daddy, always an acceptable form of exercise!
My boys know that I like to go running and that I often go with my friends (my mums running club). They also know that I go to the gym and naturally they are starting to enquire about what I do there. Their interest in my fitness pursuits is great but I don't need my boys to be runners or weight lifters, just healthy.  I make sure we also take them with us on walks in the country-side, walks around the neighbourhood, swimming in the sport centre pool/beach/etc... Fitness can be fun and can include many non-traditional exercises, so hopefully we are giving them the background where they will be able to be active and have fun in their own chosen way.
Long walks in the afternoon.
I am very much looking forward to seeing my boys grow and live a long and healthy life :)

What are you doing to encourage your children's fitness? 

Monday, 14 July 2014

Food & Fitness 13th July 2014

Hello! Well we are back from yet another rainy camping trip! It wasn't all bad but there were two massive thunder, lightening and torrential downpour sessions that just about had me swearing off camping for life. I will have to think seriously before we book our next camping trip that's all I'm sayin'!! ;)

Unfortunately, I have no photos of the trip. Which is a real shame because on the one nice day we had the view from our camping spot was amazing! We could actually see the ocean from our tent! What happened was this: I lost my phone/camera at the beginning of the trip and thought I'd thrown it out. :( I was really upset about it and although I looked for my phone with all the panic of rain things were everywhere so I thought I'd either find it at some point or it was really gone.

As luck would have it, when we got home I found it!

While mummy was cleaning the boys were dressing up or down?!
Anyway, luckily no more camping for us for awhile. Phew! But our upcoming weekends will be just as busy.

Here is the plan for this week (of laundry and sorting damp camp gear out...blah!).

Sunday- Tomato & Marscapone Soup with Toast
Monday- One Pot Pasta (loving this right now!)
Tuesday- Breakfast for Dinner
Wednesday- Thai Chicken Curry with Rice
Thursday- Greek kebabs with Salad
Friday- TBD
Saturday- BBQ at a friend's place (we're bringing a dessert!)

Sunday- Nothing (unless you include running like a maniac to get out of the rain!)
Monday- Rest
Tuesday- Spin
Wednesday- Group Training
Thursday- Short Run
Friday- Strength Training
Saturday- Rest Day (away at friend's)

Running with Racheal

So there you have it. I am really hoping that my knee holds up this week as I am getting really desperate to get back into the gym and running again. I felt like I was really getting somewhere and then I had a few weeks off and don't feel as good. Fingers crossed!


Friday, 11 July 2014

Off Camping

Hello strangers! I know, I know I keep going off and leaving my blog completely cold and alone ;)

This week has been a boring but crazy one. We didn't really have a lot planned but in the end a lot went on. We spent some time recovering from our weekends away (laundry, napping, etc...) and also getting used to the new schedule of the week with Daddy having started his new job. Additionally, I didn't have a full day Wednesday to myself as I normally do as we had Will's family over for a BBQ so I picked the boys up at 2pm to be at home for that. What a difference it made to only have half a day!

Hopefully this time our view of the camp fire won't be so blurry!
So, today I am busy packing us up for yet another camping trip! Hopefully this time the weather will hold up for us. We'll be seaside but I'm not counting on any swimming or proper beach days ;)

Our tent!

So with that said I probably will be sans internet until quite late on Sunday night. With any luck I'll be back on Monday and will resume regular blogging! We are away next weekend too though, so hopefully I won't slip back into the abyss!

Have a fab weekend and see you back here Monday!

Are you up to anything exciting this weekend? 

Monday, 7 July 2014

Food & Fitness & Wimbledon

Happy belated 4th of July to all my American readers. Sorry once again that I went missing in action last week. There was a world-wind of activity and chaos that happened the end in order to get ready for our trip to Wimbledon and sending the boys off to their cousins for the weekend. I thought I might have had a chance to blog but I really did not.

Anyway, we had a blast at Wimbledon and had a lovely weekend away. It was the very first weekend we have had without the boys since Francis' birth 3.5 years ago!! It was much needed and appreciated!
My outfit (horrible selfie sorry) -someone said this was the Pretty Woman dress!
It was actually funny how we ended up at Wimbledon. I received a phone call about a month ago saying that I had won VIP tickets to the Ladies Final at Wimbledon through my local supermarket's loyalty card and by using that when I bought Robinson's Squash (a fruity drink over here in the UK and one of the major sponsors of the event). To be honest, I didn't believe the lady on the phone when she called to tell me of my win and was waiting for the hook (of course you just need my bank details!). I get a lot of junk calls! Anyway, she said the tickets would arrive about 10 days before the Ladies Final and when they actually did arrive (I even had to sign for the package) we finally started getting excited!

Outside Centre Court before the rain.
We went down to London on Friday night and checked into a nice hotel in Chelsea (it was a treat weekend after all) then on Saturday bright and early we headed into Wimbledon. Upon arrival we had a coffee reception at the Wimbledon Club (the oldest club in the UK) and then got right into the Champagne! After that we had a lovely 4 course lunch. We then made our way over to Centre Court for the Ladies Final. It was a bit of a disappointing match (very quick and very one sided) but we learned that we could stay and watch any of the other finals on the centre court that day!

Our tickets and private bar passes!

After more champagne and strawberries and cream we were off to the Men's Doubles Final (which had 3 American players and a Canadian) and boy did that match rock! These men were awesome and very well matched. The match lasted for ages as well and was very exciting!

Roof closing due to rain...surprise, surprise!

Ladies Final (Buchard v Kvitova)
We didn't get to see as many celebs as I had hoped (as they all went to the Men's Final the following day) but we did see the Duke of Kent, Princess Eugenie and her boyfriend, Frank Lampard and Christine Bleakley and sat behind us was Vanessa Redgrave, so all in all pretty good sightings! :)

This week may be a bit more boring compared to last but here is the plan:

Sunday- Lasagna with Garlic Bread (at my sister-in-law's)
Monday- Chicken BBQ Pizza (need to do food shopping!!)
Tuesday- Lamb HotPot with Courgette
Wednesday- BBQ (My brother-in-law is over from Africa so family will all be around)
Thursday- Stir fry with rice
Friday- TBD (we are supposed to be camping this weekend weather depending)
Saturday- TBD

Sunday- Rest (away)
Monday- Rest (normal rest day)
Tuesday- Rest (I hurt my knee last week, so I have been taking it easy in order to heal)
Wednesday- Possible Group Training or Rest
Thursday- Possible Running Club or Rest
Friday- Personal Training (upper body)
Saturday- TBD

Running with Racheal

Have a good one! 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Fitness Update

Ok, so I have definitely been alluding to the fact that my personal trainer may or may not have broken up with me! But as it turns out I was just having a paranoid moment in our relationship (I think!). Since I have been doing really well with my training and my measurements have shown a definite improvement my trainer wanted to give me a new programme and then leave me for a couple of weeks to see how I could get on on my own. She told me that part of her job was making sure her clients could not only strength train on their own (to their own ability) but to even create their own plans. She feels that she should empower us to be our own boss and be there when we need her. I like that idea, but honestly the reason I go to a personal trainer is because I need someone to hold me accountable.

Anyway, it is not the break up I feared it may be so I am feeling better. I will do a couple weeks without her and see how I feel. I will probably then make notes on what I think I need more work on. Then when we meet up again I'll be able to better define my fitness goals with her.

In other fitness news, I ran the Race for Life 5k on Sunday. I had high hopes for not only getting a PR for the race, but for a race full of great atmosphere. Unfortunately, the race and I got off on the wrong foot. Firstly, my car started to break down a bit on the way into the park the race was being held in. The traffic was wild and it took us all about an hour to drive 1 mile into the park. The guy behind me was in a bad mood so started beeping and just generally being road ragey with me.

Upon arrival at the park there were literally about a million people there (well really the number was more like 3,000, but you know...) and I was late for the race. It wasn't that well organised so after finally finding a volunteer I found out the 5k race had started about 10 minutes before and I then had to stand in a queue behind the walkers for 10 more minutes before crossing the starting line.

The course was muddy and full of brambles. There were screaming children and dogs and dog pooh everywhere. The first 1k had two massive hills in it. I found it impossible to pass all the walkers and nearly gave up. I persisted and in the last kilometre had finally caught up with the runners!

I didn't get a PR and ended up with a thorn in my knee (which I still can't get out) and bleeding legs. I also didn't feel as good about my run because lets face it part of running for me is to have a break from dogs poohing and children screaming and getting underfoot. So, next year I won't be running the Race for Life but I might walk it with family or friends or at least send a donation as I do believe in the cause.

Sorry for the slightly hairy leg photo...just some of my bramble injuries.

I think this was a turning point for me. I am confident that I now need to be running 10k races and on proper courses with people who want to run. So, I have signed up for a 10k taking place in August in addition to the one I'm already signed up to in November. 10k here I come!

I guess at this point you could say that I am at a turning point in both my running fitness as well as my strength training. I am feeling confident! I am looking forward to my fitness development and discoveries in the next few weeks. As always, I'll keep you posted.