Happenings 31.12.20 and Goodbye 2020

Being busy is not an excuse for my lack of blogs recently, but it is a fact. One challenge I am setting myself for next year, is to blog more, because I really do enjoy it.

As I sit here looking back at this god awful year, many positives float into my mind, which I’m putting forward and holding onto as we say goodbye to 2020.

Here’s a little bit of what’s been ‘happening’ recently…

Doing: Sat next to the crackling fire, lite up Christmas tree, tea and in my pyjamas. Warming up post freezing cold dog walk.

Hearing: The cracklings of the fire, and Beauty and the Beast on the television.

Drinking:  Lemon and ginger tea…one of my faves, alongside Pukka ‘turmeric gold’.

Eating and Cooking: Anything warm! I’ve really been enjoying warm salads, with lots of roasted veggies and a grain or toast on the side. Soup too, however I don’t find it to be very filling. And coffee, always coffee!

I’ve also been experimenting with my sourdough starter in my baking and found two recipes I love to switch between – sourdough brownies, which you can find here and The Boy Who Bakes sourdough cookies. With the colder temperatures, I’m finding my bread is hard to prove, both at home and at work, but I’ve picked up a few tricks from a friend including using warm water instead of room temperature and proving the bread in/beside a warm oven. I’m lucky enough to have a good airing cupboard, so most of the time my bread goes in there!

Wanting: Normality back…even though I know we are far from it. Yes there are now 2 vaccines, but its not the end of this or a quick fix. We are far from that but chipping away slowly, so I should be more positive knowing that. I know we are all tired of this and that’s also making it hard to see the positives.

Looking: For 2020 to end!!! Haha! Gosh we are SO close now!

Deciding: What to bake…! I feel like I spend my free time thinking this, and I was kindly given a vegan baking book by a good friend this Christmas, so I shall be looking through there later!

Enjoying: Our Christmas tree. There is something about the smell of it, the fire crackling away, and a film on the television.  A feeling of safety, warmth, comfort and happiness, dare I say it, during this hard time. I’m going to miss my early morning cups of coffee next to it before the rest of my household wakes.

Planning: Runs, bike rides and walks with the friends…when I think of the next few weeks ahead, they seem quite bleak and empty, so I am taking it a week at a time and these meet ups are something to get excited about and look forward to.

Watching: I’ve just finished On Pointe on Disney+ and I can’t recommend it enough. A docuseries about the School of American ballet in New York City, and the students who attend. Following their individual journeys, its inspiring, captivating and binge worthy!! I’m also making my way through Bridgerton, and am enjoying that too! Totally open to any recommendations, so hit me with them!

Reading: Jodie Picoult, A Spark Of Light. I’m SO close to finishing it and then I can move onto her new book, which my friend kindly sent me during our last lockdown before Christmas.

Wearing: A dress…shock horror! I felt like putting actual clothes on today, not active wear or sweatpants and baggy jumpers, or worse, my pjs…..!

Buying: A few little bits in the sales but that’s it. Oh and chocolate. Lots of chocolate for baking!

Craving: Travelling…at this point I don’t care where. I mean, a Caribbean island would be wonderful, but I would just love to get away and explore somewhere.

Loving: The frosty, crisp morning. Especially when I’m up before anyone else/the sun and it’s so quiet.

Playing: Catch up…with washing, blogging and the pile of clothes to be sorted in my bedroom…which admittedly I don’t have the energy for at the moment.

Savouring: These quiet days at home. If 2020 has taught me anything, its to slow down and enjoy the little things. A coffee at home, using that mixer that’s sat on the windowsill for years, not rushing around and enjoying whats on our doorstep – the countryside, mostly and all the exploring we have done this year just by walking the dog.

Feeling: Relieved that this year is very nearly over. I feel like I am crawling to a finish line, mentally drained and fed up, but having no other choice but to keep going. To keep getting up, showing up and remaining positive.

So here we are, just over 6 hours until the end of 2020, and I can honestly say I don’t think I’ll be waiting up to welcome 2021 in. I’ve never been a fan of NYE and right now I feel like I could sleep for a week, so I’ll celebrate by putting 2020 to bed early – just where it needs to be.

I realise I sound so negative, and although it’s been an awful year, there have been many positives. Being able to finally see friends and family who live further away, friends who have graduated and succeeded this year in many areas, I turned 30, I have more than a handful of wonderful friends, new babies arrived and more are due next year, I found out a lot about myself, spent more time in activewear than I ever thought I would, ran a small handful of virtual races including two marathons, and realised just how god damn lucky I am. I have the worlds most amazing, supportive and loving parents and friends, and that’s all I need.

So, before I start getting to emotional, and let’s be honest, the gin is calling my name, I’d just like to say thank you. To each and every single one of you. For everything this year.

Here’s to 2021, I’m very much praying for a better one! Enjoy your evening, be sensible and stay safe.

Much love,

Emma xx

Brooks Bedlam 3 and Ghost 13 Review

Originally I thought of splitting this review and giving each shoe its own post, but seeing as I was kindly gifted both pairs in our recent kit drop, I decided to keep them together!

Bedlam 3

When my eyes caught sight of these in the box, I was instantly excited about them! My first thoughts were those are a great looking, stylish pair of trainers! Little did I know how much that excitement would excel when I put them on…

Moving on from the Bedlam 2, these are 20% lighter, have been updated with a GuideRail support system that focuses not only on the feet, but an area some runners suffer more with than most, the knees! They’ve also been made with a more breathable material that is lighter, softer and fits like a sock.

I would definitely recommend this shoe for any runner who needs the support not only for the foot, but for more of the body, and fits snug enough with room to breathe!

Ghost 13

Now, I’ve never owned or run in a pair of Ghosts…I know, BUT that has now changed because I was more than impressed with this shoe!

A cushioned, neutral road running shoe with the right amount of cushioning! I’ve always run in the Adrenaline, because they are equally cushioned well and provide the support I need. However, having ran in the Ghost 13, I’m impressed by the cushioning it provided without it being as support focused. Something I am happy and feel comfortable running in!

The Ghost 13 were also part of the recent Run Visible Collection launch, that included a range of kit for both men and women, made with high-visibility features that is enough to keep you seen, and safe, on those dark early morning or evening runs!

A massive thank you to Brooks for kindly gifting me the kit and shoes!

Let me know if any of you buy them and what you think, as I’d love to hear!

Hope everyone is well and surviving Lockdown 2.0. Thinking of you all.

Emma xx

Virtual London Marathon

Well, this is a tad later than I expected, BUT I figured it would be something for you all to enjoy and relive (for those who ran it) again!

The week leading up to ‘race day’ was very much a hit the ground running situation! I’d just finished my first 2 weeks in my new nanny rota job, Cortney was visiting and we had so much fun things planned from coffee and cake to brunch dates and a few easy runs in between.

On Friday afternoon we packed up my car and heading down to Portsmouth to stay with Anna and Kyle for the weekend. It felt so good to see them again, be together and catch up.

On Saturday morning we got up slowly and ran to brunch. We went to a new cafe that Anna had stumbled upon along the seafront. It was cute, the coffee was good and so was the food. Unfortunately it was a pretty grim and wet day, so the views weren’t the greatest, but still a lovely morning!

The rest of the day was spent doing a spot of shopping and legs up resting on the sofa. We went over the route, that Anna had kindly planned for us, a couple of times and got ourselves sorted. After a solid meal of pasta it was up to bed for an early night with a big prayer that the rain would stop…!

Sunday morning rolled around and I got up early to eat my porridge and put the tv on to watch the start of the Elites, who were racing in London. The rain was coming down, it was dull and pretty grey but I focused on the task in hand and was excited to get going!

We started at 8am and Anna went ahead with bottles full of flour, to mark out our route. I’d also downloaded it onto my watch and had Cortney by my side. Two laps of 13 miles, around Portsmouth, and what a pretty route it was. The first lap was a lot better than the second! It felt like the rain had died down a little, Cortney and I took it easy and the amount of other runners that passed us, with their bibs on was really lovely and motivating! We cheered each other on as we passed.

Ready to go!

Around mile 10, Cortney and I decided to split, and I went on ahead. My goal was to run most of the first lap with her to make sure we both didn’t get lost and enjoy the experience together, and I’m so glad we did! At mile 13, I met Anna to change my jacket, which was soaked through. The rain and wind had picked up again but I felt great and ready to get my head down for the final lap. Down to the seafront I headed and boy was it rough. The waves were lapping over the side of the seawall, the spray was coating me and I could taste the salt in my mouth. I, stupidly, decided I would run 6 miles down to the seafront and 6 miles back to Anna’s house. Well, what a stupid idea that was. As I turned around, the wind smacked me in the face, I could barely run less than 10 minute mile. I passed Cortney as I was heading back, which was really nice and gave me a boost to carry on. Back up towards Anna’s I went and with 3 miles to go, there out of the corner of my eye, I saw Kyle, Anna and Alfie on the other side of the road, cheering me on!

Soaked to the bone, I proudly finished just as I reached Anna’s house. She was there with Kyle waiting for me, cheering me in, and boy did it feel amazing to be finished! It definitely hadn’t registered that I’d ran a marathon! Trying not to soak Anna’s floor, I stripped my wet trainers and socks off. It was so toasty and warm in their house, and I headed up to jump in the warm shower. Now we were on Cortney watch, ready to cheer her in and welcome her back!

With everyone back and dry, we headed out into the rain, again, for coffee and cake!!!! It was worth getting slightly damp again, we quickly ordered and were back on the sofa watching the women’s elite race from the morning! Feeling extremely content, happy, proud and inspired, we didn’t move from the sofa for the rest of the afternoon/evening!

Vegan chocolate cake from The Tenth Hole

On Monday morning we all got up slowly, and took our weary legs out for a dog walk to find coffee. Sadly the coffee shop was closed but it felt good to move and the sun was shining in the blue sky! We said our goodbyes to Kyle and Anna, feeling so grateful to them both for letting us stay, being amazing hosts, running miles and cheering us on in the pouring rain. It was so nice to be back together especially as we didn’t know when we would see each other again.

Again, I want to congratulate everyone who ran the virtual London marathon on that extremely wet and vile day. The conditions were FAR from ideal but we did it and I hope every single one of you feels proud. I enjoyed wearing my medal for a large part of the day!!

Emma xx

Symprove Trial

I’ve struggled with my digestion/stomach issues for a few years now and after taking a pretty horrid acne drug, eventually, I decided to seek advice from a nutritionist to get some help. She recommended a few changes to my diet alongside probiotics. I’d heard about probiotics and the benefits from them but it wasn’t something I ever considered or investigated further. I was recommended a brand and started there.

After years on that same probiotic, I started to notice I wasn’t experience the same benefits I once had from them. After doing a bit of reading and research, I decided maybe it was time for change, and that’s when Symprove popped into my head. I’ve followed them for years on social media and have many, many friends/followers who use it and highly recommended it. I was kindly gifted a box of 4 bottles and excited to give it a go!

If you didn’t know, Symprove is a water based formula derived from germinated barley, is “packed full of live, active bacteria”, suitable for vegans and vegetarians as it’s dairy and gluten free, and comes in two flavours – original and Mango and Passion Fruit. Best kept in the fridge, it differs from other probiotics because its water based and built to survive the harsh environment of the stomach by entering the gut alive. It then thrives and multiples to help support the microbiome and balance the bacteria in the gut.

I’ve been taking Symprove for over a month now and I’ve definitely got some mixed feelings about it. I want to be honest, not only to my readers, but to the brand too. I feel it’s important to be open and also acknowledge the fact that what may work for one person, doesn’t always work for another.

After a few days of taking it, I noticed my stomach wasn’t happy and I thought this may happen. I stuck with it and continued to take it every morning before breakfast. Now, rookie error on my part, I asked for the original flavour, and I won’t lie, it doesn’t have the nicest of tastes…It reminds me of a flavourless kombucha. Knowing they have a flavoured option, I should have gone for that! That aside, after a few weeks, my stomach really wasn’t happy still. I just put it down to the change and possibility that this was stronger than my previous probiotics but having stuck with it a few more weeks, I decided to stop. I couldn’t take how uncomfortable it made me feel. I just felt quite icky all the time, constantly in the bathroom, bloated and just not happy.

I’m super, super grateful to Symprove for kindly sending me their product to try. The experience was good, I’m glad I’ve tried something new but I feel I’ll be heading back to the drawing board and to do some more research.

A massive thank you, again, to Symprove. I will continue to follow and support you on social media and I’m happy to share my experience and answer any questions that anyone has about their product!

Thanks for reading and hope you had a lovely weekend in the last of the summer sun!

Emma xx

Happenings 26.7.20

I’m sorry it’s been a while since I have posted on here. To be honest, I sort of lost my ability to focus and sit down to write plus not knowing what to write. So I looked back at a few favourite bloggers and remembered one of my favourite posts I like to do. Inspired, as always, by Heidi. Enjoy!

DOING: Sat in the kitchen, at the dining table with mum, who’s sewing away making masks.

HEARING: The radio and the sewing machine.

DRINKING: Water. I have a headache, possibly from too much coffee or the lack of water 😬

EATING + COOKING: Even though lockdown has been lifted more and things seem to be returning to “normal”, we’ve still continued to buy from our small collection of local businesses we’ve supported since the start of lockdown. So whatever we choose or get in our vegetable box, we tend to make meals with that produce in. I’ve craved steamed vegetables and fish or chicken, mostly, the past few days. A sign I need to up my protein in take! I’ve also been baking, recently making a Delia Smith Ginger loaf and of course, a few number of sourdough loaves a day!

WANTING: So much….like everyone, I want my normal life back, even though it’ll never be what it was. Little events have happened recently that have been enough to make life feel more normal again, which has been really nice. Also wanting a routine, which brings me to the next paragraph…

LOOKING: For a job, a nannying job. After a few bumps in the road, it’s apparent I need to redo my GCSE Maths. So I’ll hopefully be taking a course and able to work alongside it. I’m hoping….if I ever hear back from them, that is…

DECIDING: My future…alongside the course, my next step in my life/career is very much undecided. I need to sit and think quite hard, about what I do next, because I’m not entirely sure.

ENJOYING: Being back at the hub for both PT and classes and running with friends again!!! I loved workout at home but I couldn’t do it forever. The hub has been massively rearranged by Laura to make sure we adhere to the social distancing rules, there’s copious amounts of hand sanitiser around and the way we enter and leave has also been altered.

WATCHING: A lot on Netflix recently – I LOVED ‘The Kissing Booth’ and the second one, ‘After’, and of course, Gilmore Girls (which I’m still working my way through and am not leaving it until I’ve finished it!!)

READING: Actually nothing at the moment. I finished my Jodi Picoult book and dip in and out of my midwifery book, but otherwise that’s it. I need to find another book, so any recommendations welcome!

WEARING: Gym clothes….😬 ALTHOUGH, I did get dressed up for my aunts birthday on Friday, which was really nice! If not gym wear, then cozy, slouchy clothes it is, because, why not?!!!

BUYING: Nothing…except essentials. Very aware of my outgoings at the moment but there is nothing I need and I’m quite content with that. For now, I’m happy surfing the web and dreaming of the beautiful summer dresses I could own!

CRAVING: Wild salmon sweet potato cakes from the “Run Fast Eat Slow” cookbook, which I can’t recommend enough for all! We had them for supper Sunday night and I had the leftovers for my supper on Monday. There is also a second cookbook, which I prefer slightly, but the first one does have some gems in it!

PLAYING: Bat and ball with emails and agencies and other people…I’ve found myself watching and refreshing my emails all day, everyday, for the past few weeks and it’s getting a tad boring… I understand we are in a difficult time right now but i just feel like I take one step forward then two steps back…

PLANNING: My week…I have a few appointments and runs planned with friends, otherwise it’s waiting for emails and job information.

SAVOURING: The time I have off/at home. I’ll be back to work soon, I hope anyway, so I’m making the most of the last few days/week at home.

LOVING: Netflix! I very nearly cancelled my subscription before lockdown but I’m SO glad I didn’t! There have been some great films, documentaries and series and some of my faves are coming back, which I’m excited about! My post long run plans involve my bed, snacks and Netflix – heaven!

FEELING: Unsure…about a lot of things. My job/career, future, of what’s going on in the world and where we will be, as a country, in a few weeks/months time. Trying to stay positive and take everyday as it comes. A start and all I can do right now.

As always, thank you for reading, and hope you enjoyed a little update! Post inspired by Heidi.

Hope you are all having a good week and happy reading!

Emma xx