May Bank Holiday Weekend

13319723_1007275666028851_5339632343780983997_nI’m going to keep this post short and sweet. This weekend has been lazy and indulgent. I’ve followed my own advice (for once) and taken time out to relax, to eat and drink what I want and to focus on a few things that I’ve been putting off recently.

It’s the first time in a while that I feel like I’ve made some sort of progress – I’ve managed to get lots of things on my “To-Do” List ticked off and I’ve done a lot of work on my new website that will be launching when I get back off holiday at the start of July.

I’ve caught up on all of the Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals and then had the final ruined for me by someone’s Facebook status; but I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have a TV in your house so you can only watch things on catch up!

I’ve also rediscovered my love for the TV show Fringe – I watched it pretty much continually when I used to work from home and finished all 5 series in an embarrassingly short period of time. Anyway, it came up on my Netflix recommendations so I’ve started watching it again and, once again, I cannot stop! Joshua Jackson has kept me company (and sane) whilst I’ve been working on coding for the new website and choosing colour schemes for my business logo!

Monday was my day of actually getting out and doing stuff – we visited the African Market at Spitalfields, went out for lunch, did some holiday shopping at Westfield and finished off the day with a trip to the cinema to see Warcraft – obviously not my choice of film but I enjoyed it anyway 🙂

The whole weekend flew by and I’m really confused that today isn’t Monday (but yay for a short week at work!) Hope you all had an amazing weekend too!

Tray Bake Chicken – Jamie Oliver

Tray Bake Chicken (1)This recipe is from Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast but I’ve adapted to fit my healthy eating regime. The original recipe includes squashed potatoes and creamed spinach which are both delicious but I like to cook this chicken dish and serve it with steamed veg.

Serves                        Four (or two meals for two people)

Prep Time                 10 minutes

Cooking Time         30 minutes (Surprisingly!!!! Actually, I like to cook it for about 45 mins to an hour so I’ve put both methods here)

Calories                     This depends entirely on what cut of chicken you use and what sides you have!

Ingredients

Dried Oregano

Sweet Paprika

Olive Oil/Butter

4 x 180g Chicken Breasts

1 Lemon

300g Cherry Tomatoes on the Vine

4 Rashers of Smoked Streaky Bacon

Fresh Rosemary

Method (My 45 minute option)

1. Add some oil to a baking tray and pre-heat in the oven to about 180 degrees.

2. Put the oregano, paprika and a sprinkle of salt and pepper into a bowl and mix together. Sprinkle over a plate or chopping board and roll the chicken breasts until covered.

3. Cut the lemon into 8 pieces and wash the cherry tomatoes.

4. Place the chicken breasts onto the baking tray and arrange cherry tomatoes (still on the vine), rosemary and lemon wedges around them. Lay the streaky bacon rashers over the chicken. Cover the tray in foil and bake the ingredients for 40 minutes, checking every 15 minutes or so.

5. Remove the foil and turn up the heat slightly (if needed). Return to the oven to crisp up the bacon.

Method (Jamie’s 30 minute option)

1. Place a large frying pan on the hob. Get a large piece of greaseproof paper and sprinkle the oregano, paprika and a sprinkle of salt and pepper over the paper. Drizzle some olive oil over and add a splash to the frying pan.

2. Lay the chicken breasts on top of the greaseproof paper and roll them in the seasoning. Add to the frying pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until golden on both sides.

3. Cut the lemon into 8 slices and place in a baking tray along with the cherry tomatoes (still on the vine).

4. Add the chicken into the tray along with any juices from the frying pan and place the bacon rashers over the chicken.

5. Place the frying pan back on the heat and add the sprigs of rosemary. Stir around a little and then add them into the baking tray.

6. Put the baking tray under the grill for about 12-15 minutes. Remove the tray and spoon the juices over the top of the chicken half way through.

As I said, I usually serve this with steamed veg rather than the crushed potatoes and creamed spinach that is suggested in Jamie’s book but if you want the recipe for them too, please let me know and I’ll add it.

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Friday Fitness Round Up: Part Two

So last week’s Friday Fitness Round Up went down quite well. The idea is that I’ll actually post them on a Friday but last week’s went upon Saturday and, as you can probably tell, this one is even later! I’m not going to bore you with more dull intro crap, so I’ll get straight to it…

Saturday

Brighteyed and Bewildered (15)Breakfast – Coffee. I skipped breakfast today, DON’T JUDGE ME! I didn’t actually mean to, I got a coffee when I woke up and started writing a new blog post, then I read some of my favourite bloggers’ recent posts and before I knew it, it was lunch time.

Lunch – Grilled cheese sandwich 🙂

Afternoon Snack – I tend not to schedule in afternoon snacks if I’m not running. I have to have them during the week otherwise I don’t have much energy to run home with.

Dinner – “Home made” chicken korma with brown rice – it was a low fat one out of a jar so not really home made but still much better than a takeaway.

Exercise – Today I have done absolutely nothing! I’ve been focusing on my blog and new business and my legs definitely need a proper rest after this week.

Feeling – My calf actually feels much better so I don’t feel guilty about not working out today. Mentally, I’ve been up and down today (the joys of depression hey?) – I’ve had some points where I’ve felt really productive (I’ve got 6 draft blog posts ready to go!) and almost like I know what I’m doing (a Saturday afternoon #fblchat will do that to a girl) but then I’ve also had moments of full on doubt where I’ve just thought this is pointless and I should probably stop wasting my time with it. Luckily for me though, I’m surrounded by caring supportive people; at home, on the phone and online. Also, I’ve recently discovered ASMR videos on YouTube which never fail to calm me down and help me sleep.

Sunday

Brighteyed and Bewildered (17)

Breakfast – Wholemeal toast with low fat spread – completely boring I know but the only other option was golden syrup and we all know that you can’t have golden syrup on toast unless you use the whole bottle and that’s no good for anyone.

Lunch – We spent the day at Brands Hatch watching motorbike racing so I’ll warn you now, today’s diet has been rubbish! Lunch consisted of a cheese burger and a cup of coffee.

Afternoon Snack – Given the size of my lunch, and the fact that I haven’t been running today, I didn’t need an afternoon snack. I did however, have a cheeky little sugar hit from a can of coke!

Dinner – After wandering around all day and getting caught in a downpour on the way home, there was no other option than pizza and watching BGT on catch up (I’ve already told you once in this post – don’t judge! It’s rude)

Exercise – I’ve been on my feet pretty much all day with a fair bit of walking around the outside of the track. I’ve done just over the target of 10,000 steps.

Feeling – Full but happy

Monday 

Brighteyed and Bewildered (16)Breakfast – This week, I thought I’d mix it up a little with Strawberry Yoghurt so I had Strawberry Yoghurt with Raisin and Honey Granola. One cup of Coffee and two cups of Pomegranate Green Tea (not all at once)

Lunch – I forgot to go food shopping this weekend and the “big shop” isn’t due to be delivered until Friday evening so I had to buy lunch today. I tried to keep it healthy with a Crayfish and Avocado Salad from Pret.

Afternoon Snack – Belvita breakfast biscuits (Fruit and Fibre)

Dinner – Home made Chilli

Exercise – I ran after work and took a slightly longer route than usual – 5.6 km in total. I was a little slower than I wanted to be but my calf is still tight so need to take it easy.

Feeling – Knackered after this weekend but got the week off to a good start with a decent run so generally feeling quite happy.

Tuesday 

Brighteyed and Bewildered (18)Breakfast – Strawberry Yoghurt with Raisin and Honey Granola

Lunch – I still haven’t been food shopping so it was a WeightWatchers Sweet Chilli Chicken Wrap from Tescos with a bottle of Apple Juice and some low fat Popcorn (I love a good meal deal!)

Afternoon Snack – Belvita Breakfast Biscuits

Dinner – Leftover Chilli from last night.

Exercise – I was feeling pretty lazy today so I walked 2km and then got a lift home (shhhhhh don’t tell anyone)

Feeling – Summer holiday is booked!!!!! Serious diet needs to start tomorrow but that’s unlikely as I still  haven’t been food shopping. But seriously, I’m super excited about the holiday and it’s great to have a goal to work towards. Mentally I’ve had a really good day – knowing I’ll be by the pool in the sunshine in 5 weeks really helps, plus I’ve had a really productive today which is always nice.

Wednesday 

Brighteyed and Bewildered (12)Breakfast – Strawberry Yoghurt with Raisin and Honey Granola

Lunch – Surprise, surprise, I still haven’t done a food shop so had to buy lunch again today. I had a chicken salad, tropical fruit juice and some popcorn in my meal deal.

Afternoon Snack – Popcorn from lunch – Sweet coconut and vanilla – I’m obsessed!

Dinner – Pork, veg and noodle stir fry (home made)

Exercise – I’ve felt exhausted all day today so I listened to my body and skipped the run today. I did go for a walk on my lunch break and after work though otherwise I’d only have done about 15 steps today!

Feeling – Tired and frustrated. I wanted to get 4 runs in this week but so far I’ve only managed 1. I also wanted a productive evening of blogging but that’s not gone too well either….there’s always tomorrow.

Thursday 

Brighteyed and Bewildered (19)Breakfast – Strawberry Yoghurt with Raisin and Honey Granola

Lunch – Sweet Chili Crayfish wrap from Pret

Afternoon Snack – Vanilla latte and chocolate brownie from Pret – it was really part of my lunch rather than an afternoon snack, but I look less fat if I split it out over “lunch” and “afternoon snack”.

Dinner – Yaki Soba from Wagamamas! Literally my favourite meal.

Exercise – I ran almost 6km after work and managed to do my fastest km to date (6.05).

Feeling – Today I have learnt that snacking on chocolate brownies increases my running performance massively…I’m considering making brownie consumption part of my everyday routine. Running in the soon definitely boosted my energy levels and mood too.

Friday (today)

Brighteyed and Bewildered (20)Breakfast – Strawberry Yoghurt with Raisin and Honey Granola

Lunch – Salmon and Tuna tartare salad – I’m kinda obsessed with this. The fish is amazing and there’s always a really good fish/salad ratio (super important in a salad)

Afternoon Snack – Ummmm…beer…ok, ok, it wasn’t really an afternoon snack but a few of us went out for drinks after work today.

Dinner – Several beers and a couple of glasses of wine later and I made the awesome decision to have Chinese takeaway! I’m not going to tell you exactly how much I ate but let’s just say, I’ve probably doubled in weight this evening.

Exercise – I had every intention of running today but it’s not the best idea to attempt to run after three pints so I got the train! Luckily, I’d already done my 10,000 steps for the day.

Feeling – Good. The drinks and takeaway were just what I needed today – it’s strange that sometimes eating crap makes you feel guilty but when you really, really want and deserve it, it actually cheers you up.

This week hasn’t been the best, mainly because I’ve bought lunch every day and it;s so tempting to get unhealthy food when I do that. I also felt like I deserved a treat to finish this week off as it’s been a pretty tough week for me mentally. I’ve only managed 3 runs this week instead of the 4 that I wanted but they were all slightly longer than last week’s runs and my pace was better so that’s one really good thing.

My goals for next week? I’m going to chill out for the bank holiday weekend, eat what I want and then, on Tuesday, I’m going to join the gym – I haven’t been to the gym for about three months!

My Friday Fitness Round Up: Part One

So this week, I decided to try something a little different and, rather than randomly post about my health and fitness, I thought I’d start a regular series of posts. The main reason for this is that I’m hoping it will provide me with some extra motivation which I’m seriously lacking at the moment – after all, if I know your eyes are on me and you’re tracking my progress too, I can’t let you down!

The first few posts are probably going to be a bit of trial and error so I’d really appreciate your feedback; let me know what parts you enjoy and which bits I can scrap.

I’ll be documenting my week from Saturday morning through to Friday lunchtime/dinnertime/whenever works time, but I kinda only decided this on Monday (which is handy because I ate a whole load of shit and was super lazy last weekend!)

That’s enough of the boring intro stuff for now, let’s take a look at this week:

Monday 

Brighteyed and Bewildered (12)Breakfast – Mango, Papaya and Pineapple Yoghurt with Raisin and Honey Granola. Two cups of Pomegranate Green Tea.

Lunch – Home made tuna salad (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and tuna). No dressing.

Afternoon Snack – Dried apricots and raisins

Dinner – Grilled sausages with sweet potato mash. Made pretty unhealthy with a little but of gravy and a Yorkshire pudding!

Exercise – I didn’t have the energy to run home today but I did go for a walk for about 30 minutes on my lunch break around Green Park and Buckingham Palace.

Feeling – Generally speaking, I was happy with what I ate today but dinner wasn’t great. I was disappointed that I didn’t run today but, by home time, I felt exhausted. There’s always tomorrow though!

Tuesday 

Brighteyed and Bewildered (9)Breakfast – Mango, Papaya and Pineapple Yoghurt with Raisin and Honey Granola. A cup of coffee – I was super sleepy this morning but I am trying to cut down on my caffeine intake.

Lunch – Home made tuna salad (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, tuna and….wait for it….some olives! Ooooooo!) No dressing.

Afternoon Snack – Dried apricots and raisins

Dinner – Grilled salmon with chilli flakes, broccoli, asparagus and brown rice. I like to try to avoid carbs in an evening, mainly because I find they interfere with my sleep (yea, yea, I know that sounds weird but it’s true) but on days when I run, it’s important to try and replenish what I’ve burnt off.

Exercise – I ran from work to London Bridge this evening. It’s about 4.5 km and I was running at my fastest pace for a long time (approx. 6.24 mins per km) but I had to stop for a wee so I lost my pacing. Still happy to have run at all and super happy with the pace at the start.

Feeling – My mood was pretty low today but running definitely helped and I’ve had a really productive evening as a result. Running usually helps with depression but it’s too early to expect too much of an improvement.

Wednesday 

Brighteyed and Bewildered (10)Breakfast – Mango, Papaya and Pineapple Yoghurt with Raisin and Honey Granola. Two cups of Pomegranate Green Tea. I know some people find having the same thing day in day out boring but I’ve bought a massive bag of granola and it’s delicious!

Lunch – Home made  salad (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and olives). No dressing.

Afternoon Snack – Dried apricots and raisins

Dinner – Home made burritos/fajitas. I kinda made this up as I went along – Chicken, onions and peppers with a fajita seasoning, brown rice, salsa and grated cheese all wrapped up in a tortilla wrap. I also had a MooYoo frozen yoghurt lolly for desert; these are perfect for when I’m craving something sweet.

Exercise – I absolutely smashed the run home tonight with an average pace of 6 minutes 39 per km (I know it’s not actually that fast but it’s effin amazing for me!) According to my FitBit, I’ve burned 2,139 calories today! Go me!

Feeling – Physically, I’m pretty tired and I’ve had terrible cramp in my right calf (so I’m currently sat in bed writing in my compression socks). Mentally, much better. It’s amazing how much of an impact running has on my mental state. I feel much calmer and a lot happier already.

Thursday 

Brighteyed and Bewildered (11)
Breakfast – Mango, Papaya and Pineapple Yoghurt with Raisin and Honey Granola. Pomegranate Green Tea and a coffee.

Lunch – Home made tomato pasta bake, made last night. Brown pasta, tomato and basil sauce and a sprinkling of cheese to top it off.

Afternoon Snack – Dried apricots and raisins and a skinny latte

Dinner – Home made burritos/fajitas – just using up leftover ingredients from last night.

Exercise -Last night’s cramp seems to have actually been a strained calf muscle. I ran about 2.4 km this evening before feeling and hearing my right calf pop…so yea, that was nice. I walked for a bit but that was just as painful as running so decided to jog the last km anyway.

Feeling – I’m in quite a lot of pain and fairly annoyed that I’ve injured myself but tomorrow is meant to be a rest day anyway. I’m really tired too; for some reason, when I run I actually find it much harder to sleep at night. Weird right?!

Friday (today)

Brighteyed and Bewildered (13)Breakfast – Decided to mix it up a little bit and treat myself to breakfast from Pret on the way into work. Kept it fairly healthy with a fruit pot and a skinny vanilla latte (I could drink them all day every day!)

Lunch – Leftover pasta bake. I always like to make large portions of things that will cover several meals. Mainly because I’m lazy but also because it’s cost effective and I’m trying to save money.

Afternoon Snack – Dried apricots and raisins

Dinner – Friday night is treat night so it was Chinese food from Tesco, a Corona and some fruit pastilles.

Exercise – Today is rest day but I wanted to do some walking to keep my calves moving and stretched. I walked to work and also went for a long walk on my lunch break. In total, I’ve covered 11.7 km in 17,500 steps which isn’t too shabby for a rest day.

Feeling – Rest day is always an odd one because I feel like I should have done more. Combine that with a cheat meal and I feel pretty guilty. Having said that, I’m happy with my progress from the rest of the week and how far I walked today so I’m just going to enjoy it!

All in all, not a bad week! I managed to stick with healthy eating in the main (with the exception of the two lattes) but I’m annoyed at the calf strain. Next week I want to push a little harder and get four 5 km runs done.

Making Time For Yourself

You Can Always Make Time For YourselfLast week I posted about making time for your family and friends but it’s just as important, if not more, to make time for yourself too.

It’s easy to get caught up in life, doing things for other people, compromising and just constantly being busy. Think about it, when was the last time you made time for yourself? I don’t mean taking time to visit friends or doing housework. I mean you time. When was the last time you did something just for yourself?

Now I know that taking time out for yourself isn’t easy, especially if it means saying “no” to someone else but it’s so important to take a step back from everything (and everyone) in your life from time to time. Take time to think, to let your brain absorb and process everything that’s going on. It’s helpful to reconsider and re-evaluate where you are, what you’ve already achieved and what you hope to achieve in the future. Even if nothing’s changed lately, it’s great to refocus your mind on those things – it’s so easy to lose focus or forget about them completely if you’re constantly rushing around.

Not only can taking time out for yourself help you to refocus on what you want and where you’re going, it can also make you happier (massive assumption!) But really, putting yourself first every now and then can really help your mood. Treat yourself the way you treat those you love, after all, you deserve it.

I know it’s easy to say “you should make time for yourself” but in reality, we often have very little, if any, spare time at all. So, here’s a few tips on how to make yourself your top priority.

1. Leave work on time – It’s easy to stay an extra 30 minutes each evening but how often does that 30 minutes turn into an hour or more? That 30 minutes or more could be 30 minutes of reading at home, 30 extra minutes in the gym (or the jacuzzi – whatever floats your boat!) or simply 30 minutes of just chilling out at home. Leave work on time but “save” that extra time for yourself, don’t just let it slip back into whatever else is going on in your world. You have reclaimed that time for you, keep it that way.

2. Have a monthly treat – I know it’s really hard to find time for yourself, particularly if you work, have kids, hobbies, pets, friends…basically have a life! One way to ensure that you really do make time for yourself is to lump it all together into one (or two) monthly treats. Most of us will find it almost impossible to set aside time every day but will find it much easier to block out one Saturday morning a month out. Once you’ve done this, treat it like any other appointment. Don’t agree to do anything else in that time, don’t let other plans take priority and do whatever you want when that time comes around. Don’t get sucked into doing your “usual” stuff; do whatever makes you happy – book a spa day, go to the park and read, wander round a local market and take in the sights, smells and sounds…whatever you want.

3. Make a wishlist – Make yourself a cuppa, sit down, and make a wishlist. Write down everything that you want to do that you just don’t have time to. Include as many things as you can think of and, when you think you’ve written everything down, get up, make another cuppa and come back to it. The aim here is to have a list that you can make time to work through. Always wanted to pop into that boutique shop in town? Set aside an hour or so one day to wander down there alone and peruse the shelves with no pressure. Determined to knit a cute cardigan for your friend’s baby? Schedule in a couple of hours a week where you curl up in front of the TV and knit uninterrupted. The key thing is to include a mixture of things that taking varying amounts of time so no matter what time you have available, you have something to choose from the list.

4. Join a club/group/class – Basically, make time to do something you love. Sometimes we find ourselves feeling guilty for making time to do something we enjoy, especially when it doesn’t involve other people we know but when you’re doing that thing as part of a club, group or class, that guilt disappears; after all, how bad can it be if all of those other people are doing it to? Another big perk to joining a club, group or class is that you’re less likely to make excuses and skip it meaning that you’re more likely to actually do the things you want to = happier you!

5. Take five! – No matter how busy you are, you can always take a five minute break. Whether you go to bed five minutes earlier or just spend five minutes longer in the shower, take a deep breathe and collect your thoughts together. Think about yourself and what is important to you. And, if you have time, think about when you can next grab five minutes to yourself!

Just Take FiveJust give it a go. At some point in the next couple of weeks, make a conscious effort to make more time for yourself and see how much of a difference it makes.