I’ve been struggling for the last year or so with being healthy and seeing the above on Pinterest this week has really reminded me why I bothered to get healthier in the first place. I need to remember what the point is and that a chocolate coma every night on the sofa is not the way forward. I want to get back to that point were I feel better about myself and where my clothes fit properly, I feel happier and maybe I can even shed a few of these excess pounds.
I want to feel healthier in myself and I want more energy. I know I need to get past the times where one chocolate covered pretzel leads to twelve and a run isn’t a pathetic fifteen minute jog round the corner but a 6 miler that leaves me feeling energised and not dead on the floor. So from today (not January 1st, today) I’m going to bring back the healthy habits and the regular exercise, yes even over Christmas, and this is a way of reminding myself why this is important to me. So please do help me. If you have tips, hints or motivational images send them my way. I’m determined to change my ways and I’ll need all the help I can get!
One of my favourite things to do in December is visit the Christmas market on the Southbank. You can guarantee you’ll find mulled wine, christmas gifts, festive songs and good food and for me this just signals the start of the festive season. I’m lucky enough to work on the Strand so I’m just a hop, skip and a river crossing away from the Southbank. This means that December is normally filled with numerous visits to these wooden huts, from lunchtime market visits to evening meet ups with friends, I certainly make sure I make the most of the festive space across the river. This year was no exception, at last count I had managed to fit in five visits to the Southbank plus there’s still one more visit in the pipeline. I am definitely doing Christmas properly this year.
I just love how pretty the lights look in the dark.
The Rekorderlig winter cider is delicious, it’s definitely worth stopping off at the Cider Lodge if you’re in the area.
December 21st marks the final Runners Tell All link up of 2014. It’s been a great year of running chatter and while we haven’t joined in every month, we have managed quite a few. The final topic of the link up is running reflections from 2014 and your 2015 running goals.
I feel quite guilty when I look back on my running in 2014. I feel like I started off really well this year. The first three months were full of running because I was in training for a half marathon. This meant I was running an average of 6 miles four times a week. Brilliant right? I then completed the half in March well within my goal of 2 hours 30. I think the official time was 2h16m. Woop woop to me. Except then I gave my self a bit of a break from running and never really picked it back up again. Even though I ran the London BUPA 10k and a Halloween fright night run I didn’t really indulge in running that much. Looking back I think I probably ran once a week and that upsets me. I had big plans for this year, I wanted a 10k to be my ‘normal’ run, but it’s not at all that yet. I’m still stuck on 5k. And I think that’s probably the problem I’ve got right now. I’m focusing more on what I want to achieve rather than just running. Why can’t I just be happy with running? Why does it need to be about pace or distance or comparing myself to others? I know this is my competitiveness coming out but I think I need to try to stop it.
So next year I’m aiming to concentrate more on just going out on a run and not worrying about anything other than that. I do have another half marathon booked in for March, but I really am aiming to approach things differently once that’s complete. I might even book in another couple of runs as I’ve heard of the Baccaus half which is a September race near where my parents live. Apparently you run through a vineyard and there are wine stations so that could be a fun and different race. I don’t know, we’ll see. On one hand I’m talking about making my running simpler and on the other I’m debating a second half marathon. Hopefully I can reconcile these two ideas for a good year in 2015.
What does everyone else have planned in terms of running and fitness in 2015. Any big goals in mind?
Happy December everybody. Time really is flying right now, I’m totally loving it! I feel like I’ve had a jam-packed time since my last Top 10 update. Actually, It’s been over a month so I guess that makes sense, but it definitely feels like it’s time to stop and take stock. To remind myself what I’ve been up to and what’s kept me smiling this month before Christmas happens! So here I am with another installment of My Top 10 of Now.
– I have finally, finally got around to the watching two highly anticipated films; Mockingjay and The Imitation Game. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed both and would definitely recommend both to everyone. The Imitation Game was just so interesting. That whole side of things during the war completely fascinates me and the whole Bletchley Park story just hooks me in. However the story of Turing is just so heartbreaking, I know the film is only based on his life, but still, it’s horrible. Also, obviously only watch Mockingjay if you’ve seen the others in The Hunger Games series.
– I have finished all of my Christmas shopping! Yes, I know right?! I had a super productive first Saturday of December and blitzed it all in one day. Plus I then got home and wrapped all the presents too. I’m just waiting for two more presents to be delivered and then I can get everything wrapped up.
– Lazy sofa times. While I have been ultra busy recently I have been making the most of the times that I am in my flat. Cozy slippers, good tv or films and scented candles. – Craft time. This year for Christmas my sisters and I have decided to make each other presents. There was a bit of a panic to start with while I thought of what I wanted to make, but overall this has been such a brilliant idea as I’ve had an excuse to get creative. It also means that any lazy sofa time is also productive crafting time. – Christmas Markets. Oh how I love thee. Mulled wine, cute gifts, festive music and delicious food, I just can’t get enough of it. If I have to be out in the bitter cold, then at least I’m totally festive with it.
– Over the last couple of weeks I have been experiencing a veritable feast of homemade warming foods. Steak & ale pie, berry crumble, aubergine bake, apple pie with a cheese pastry crust and a glorious turkey rice stew thing just to name a few!
– The Evans family Christmas tree is now up and decorated. It’s just so pretty. Now it’s properly feeling like Christmas.
– While out shopping the other weekend I discovered my favourite American shop has made it to our shores. Yes, American Eagle Outfitters is now in the UK. I love this place, it’s like a cross between Gap and Jack Wills and it does the best jeans ever. I am totally impressed with the shop over here, the staff were all lovely and friendly and provided brilliant customer service. Two thumbs up from me. – Wedding celebrations. Last weekend I had an amazing day celebrating the marriage of one of my oldest friends. It was a glorious Christmas wedding in London and it was full of magical moments and fun times.
Yes, it’s me again, with another Christmas post. My bad, but it’s all I’ve got on my brain right now! I honestly meant to post this earlier in the month, but time ran away with me and here we are. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a few last minute Christmas craft DIYs. So that’s what this is, a quick shout out to some of the amazing Christmas crafts I’ve seen lately. There’s still a bit of time to make them before the big day, and if not, well Christmas 2015 will be here before you know it!
I know there are a lot of Christmas gift guides doing the rounds, but we’re not really fans of those, so you won’t find ideas for your dog, brother or mother on this here blog. Instead we’re being completely selfish and focusing on ourselves and sharing our Christmas wishlists! We’ve done all our shopping now, so it’s only fair we focus on what we want, just in case you haven’t decided what to get us yet! Just kidding, most of these items will probably be bought by ourselves, as gifts to ourselves, in the sale. Isn’t that what January is all about?
What an awesome array of goodies, yes? If these are under my tree I will be super happy on Christmas afternoon. So let’s discuss these top picks.
– This gorgeous grey cardigan is just the thing for days spent running errands, in the office, on the sofa, out at brunch or anywhere and will basically turn every outfit I own into a winter appropriate one. Oh the possibilities!
– Black chelsea boots are something I should have bought over a year ago, so this present would be long overdue and absolutely perfect for the upcoming wintry, wet months. Ditto for the snood, which is a lovely colour combo and pattern. This was definitely love at first sight.
– I could never write a wish list without including a few books and Station Eleven is one I’ve heard so much about this year. It sounds like just my sort of thing and the perfect winter read plus the cover is beautiful which is always essential in my opinion. As for The Star Of Kazan I’ve been meaning to read more of Eva Ibbotson’s books since I fell in love with Journey to the River Sea earlier this year so I can’t wait to get stuck into this read asap.
– Now for the accessories. Have you ever seen a more beautiful purse in your life? I’ve been needing to replace mine for ages and I’ve finally spotted one I adore. fingers crossed! One can never have too many necklaces, especially not one as lovely as this. Just perfect for upping the appearance of effort going in to an outfit. Just what I like!
– Apparently this book from Lena Dunham is a good’un. It’s a collection of essays and it has me intrigued. Intrigued enough to add it to my Christmas list.
– I’ve kind of fallen in love with this bag. It’s just so pretty and practical at the same time. I’m a huge fan of enormous bags that you can just dump everything into and this definitely fits the bill.
– This last year or so I’ve been trying to wear jewellery more as it’s such a great way to perk up any outfit. The thing I’ve realised is that I like simple necklaces with a long chain, however I actually don’t own many that fit the bill. Fi on the other hand does, so I am borrowing from her constantly. I’m thinking that Christmas and the New Year sales will be the perfect time to fill this hole in my collection.
– The Jawbone is something I’ve been contemplating for a while, but so far I’ve held off on the purchase. I think the new year may be the perfect time to invest in one.
– And as for the boots, dress and jumper? These are all wardrobe essentials in my opinion. I know I will wear all three of these constantly.
So tell us, what do you want to find under your tree this Christmas?
Last weekend I had no concrete plans and as a result ended up having the most productive weekend I’ve had for a very long time. Don’t you just love it when that happens? There was present making (more to come on that post-Christmas but I’m super pleased), runs, house stuff, Christmas films galore and decorations abound. On the less fun side of things I defrosted the freezer and cooked up all the food that had been left in there – I know how to have a good time! I think I cooked up about 4 kilos of meat to use up in lunches over the week, a mahoosive steak and ale pie (thanks Michelle for the delicious recipe) and then it was time to make use of the massive pot of frozen berries. Really there was no option, was there? When you have frozen fruit and it’s cold and dark outside you can’t make anything other than a crumble. At least not if I’m in the house because crumble is one of my all-time favourite puddings. As a child I hated pastry on sweet pies, so I would always get a mini crumble when apple pie was being made. And ever since then crumble has been my favourite thing ever!
To make the crumble it couldn’t be easier. You’ll need just four ingredients, (on top of the fruit base) and it takes just four steps.
8oz plain flour
20z soft brown sugar
4oz chopped nuts and seeds (we used almonds and sunflower seeds)
All you do is pop the flour and butter in a bowl and rub between your fingers to form breadcrumbs. Then mix in the sugar and mixed nuts. Sprinkle the topping over your berry base and pop in the over for 2o minutes at 200 degrees, until the base is bubbling and the top is golden. See I told you it couldn’t be easier!
What’s your favourite crumble filling, do you think berries can be beaten?
It’s only twelve sleeps till Christmas – hooray! I cannot wait for the big day to arrive and yet at the same time I don’t want it to arrive as then all the waiting will be over – which is my favourite part! However, as it’s still not Christmas there’s time to get into the spirit of things and right now I’m having severe Christmas tree envy. We decided not to put ours up this year as we’re having flat viewings fairly regularly, so it seemed unhelpful to add a Christmas tree into the mix. After all Kirstie and Phil tell you to make the most of your house and ensure it looks as big as possible. Adding a Christmas tree laden with awesome decorations would not help our flat look large and roomy that’s for sure! Especially not when you consider the sewing machine, board games and three heaped bags of presents in that room already – oops! So, yes no Christmas tree for us. But that hasn’t stopped me perusing all the websites for the prettiest decorations. So here’s my most wished for Christmas decorations right now!
Ages and ages ago I spotted a post on Holly in your Pocket that made me smile and had me exclaiming, that’s a genius idea! So I added it to the blog schedule to one day write and I, of course, promptly forgot about it! As the year’s fast disappearing I’m suddenly being organised with the old blog schedule and spotted the link to Holly’s original post, Awards I Could Actually Win, on said schedule and got writing! I love the idea of giving yourself a pat on the back for being awesome and things, even if those things aren’t the things you’d usually get an award for. I like to think of the below as my own Oscar worthy abilities! So anyway, here’s the post I planned almost two months ago. I hope it was worth the wait!
Awards I could actually win:
Most indecisive person in the world
Most obsessed with finding the scrunchiest Autumn leaves around
Person most likely to buy lots of bits and pieces for people at Christmas and then realise you haven’t got them one thing they put on their list but you’re £30 over budget…
Biggest Christmas fan in the universe – something I take VERY seriously
Most able to laze around all day in bed and have nothing but a finished book to show for it
Winner of the award for most jeans in their wardrobe that they don’t wear
Person most likely to start a sewing project without properly measuring everything first
Least likely to be bored by eating pasta (with the same topping) every night for a week
Person most obsessed with fairy lights
The biggest advocate there is of cold custard on warm puddings
Since mid November my work colleagues have been begging me to make them Christmas Gingerbread biscuits. Over the last 5+ years it’s become an office tradition for me to supply the team with snappy gingerbread creations to nibble on through the Christmas weeks. I’m a huge gingerbread lover so I am always more than happy to cook up a big batch and spread the festive year, but I draw the line at making them before the 1st December. It just seems wrong. Of course I will still eat gingerbread during the rest of the year, I just don’t make it.
Anyway, last week I caved and got baking. It just seemed like the perfect time, not only was it the first week of December but it was also my work Christmas party and the only way to recover the day after is to eat sugar. Cue gingerbread biscuits! Let me tell you there were a lot of happy people in the office on Wednesday.
250g Plain Flour
2tsp Baking Powder
175g Caster Sugar
A few drops of Vanilla Essence
1.2 tsp Mixed Spice
2 tsp Ground Ginger
100g Clear Honey
1 egg, separated
125g softened Butter
125g Ground Almonds
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl.
Add the sugar, vanilla extract, mixed spice, ginger, honey, egg yolk, milk, butter and ground almonds.
Bring the mixture together to form a soft dough, by stirring with a wooden spoon.
Use your hands to shape into a ball.
On a floured surface roll out the dough so it’s about 5mm thick and cut out biscuits.
Place on a lined baking tray and brush with beaten egg white.
Bake for 8-10 minutes at 180°C or until golden brown.
The above recipe makes over 50 biscuits, which was more than enough to split between two offices and still have some at home for festive snacking.
What about you? Do you have any recipes that you always make this time of year?
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