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

New Brooks Glycerin 18 Road Shoes

Last Friday afternoon, a surprise box arrived from Brooks, and inside were the beautiful new Glycerin 18 road shoes, along with some new kit! With the shoes tied to the top of the box, I lifted it off and out floated balloons to reveal the rest of what was inside. I have to take my hat off to Brooks for this package, because they nailed it on the creative side!

Described as being “the perfect shoe for road runners who believe there is no such thing as too much cushioning” and made with more DNA loft, they are both soft and comfortable but without feeling overly cushioned. Making you feel like you are floating in them as you run – and they did just that!

On Sunday morning, I laced up and headed out for 6 quiet and much needed miles to test both the shoes and kit. The shoes are super comfortable and very light! They remind me of how the Adrenaline GTS feel, cushioning wise, but a lot light and I’m considering making them my long run shoe! I was also pleasantly surprised by how comfortable, flattering and fitting the kit is – especially the shorts! I’ve only ever ran in compression like shorts but these, the Chaser 5”, have certainly changed my thoughts on future short purchases. Comfortable enough around the waist, without hugging too tight and staying put, they are made from the lightest of fabric and I’m very tempted to buy another pair or two because I have a feeling I am going to be living in them for the rest of the summer!

If you’d like to get your hands on the new Glycerin 18, they will be available from today, 1st July, online and in all retainers worldwide!

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

Happy running everyone!

Emma xx

Local businesses I’ve been supporting throughout lockdown

I hold my hand up high and admit I was one of the very many who panic bought at the beginning of lockdown. Now I think back, all but a few of my Waitrose purchases were quite mindless and random – I’d definitely got caught in the panic buy circle!

What I then found quite hard to see, were the local businesses/cafes/restaurants that I love, support and spend my time at, start closing their doors. I was worried for them and upset. What the next few weeks and months held for them, for everyone, was completely unknown. So that’s when I turned my focus to supporting and doing what I could to help them. I started purchasing from them, sharing on social media and by word of mouth. We were still lucky enough to be getting a weekly delivery from Ocado, which we had signed up to and been using for years. We were very mindful with what we purchased and got what we couldn’t get locally.

Here are a few of my favourite local cafes and businesses I’ve been supporting though these hard times.

Geo Cafe

A cafe I’d been visiting for years, which had changed owners not long ago, bringing a Georgian theme to the cafe and centre of Caversham. Continuing to sell freshly baked homemade sourdough bread, delicious breakfast and lunch dishes and a range of yummy cakes both vegan and not. Before and then when lockdown hit, they were offering takeaway coffee, baked goods and bread, alongside eggs and fruit and vegetable boxes. The vegetable boxes have been a wonderful hit in our house and we have bought many, using them to base our weekly meals around. Full of variety every week and so fresh and delicious. They’ve really grown as a cafe over the past few months, you can now order online, add eggs and bread to your order and also pop by and pick up a range of fresh produce from the stall outside! Check them out here!

Dudmans Of Berkshire

Now I had not come across this independent wholesale grocer until I was browsing the local community Facebook page. Strange as they are literally a 10 minute drive from me. Someone had posted about their fresh fruit and I decided to look at their website and what they offered. Vegetable and fruit boxes available for delivery or you could pop down and pick what you wanted. The set up was so colourful and my eyes were in heaven! The colour and freshness of the produce shined, the staff were extremely welcoming and helpful, adhering to the 2 metre distancing rules, using gloves and enabling a safe and easy shopping experience. And at a great price! I’ve mostly bought fruit, especially strawberries, from them, but it all tastes so fresh and delicious. If you are close, I definitely recommend you get there early in the morning, around 9am, to beat the rush! You can find more information by visiting their website here.

Berries Coffee Shop

Now to the important stuff – coffee! Never have I been so thankful, or used our bean to cup coffee machine, as much as I have since lockdown!! Berries, located in Henley, is a relatively new and special coffee shop, mainly because they roast their own beans! When lockdown hit, they quickly closed their doors and offered a delivery service. By buying their beans, we were able to support them and continue to enjoy the essential cup, or two, of coffee at home! Since lockdown has been eased, they’ve opened up again, serving baked goods, wraps, sandwiches etc. There is ALWAYS a queue outside and one I am prepared to wait in!

Pierreponts Cafe

A family run cafe, in a village I adore, which I’ve been visiting for years. So popular that you have to book at the weekend if you want to eat in, or be prepared to sit outside and brave whatever the British weather brings on the day! Initially closing their doors and kitchen, they bounced back after a few weeks, offering “fill your freezer” meals and baked goods for collection – changing weekly, all can be ordered from their social media pages or website. We purchased a few and boy were they delicious – I had a Thai chicken curry and my parents had a beef dish and a vegetable lasagna – perfect for an evening when we didn’t fancy cooking. Since a few weeks ago, they’ve opened up their hatch again to serve coffee, their popular jam doughnuts, my favourite, their vegan granola bar! Plus much more! I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked if it’s on their counter or begged for it to be made…! Steph and Phil are probably sick of me asking for it! It’s been lovely to see them open again and a real treat after a long walk by the river, which has become a regular occurrence on a Friday. Thank you guys for reopening and bring your smiles and positivity!

The Collective

A new cafe to Caversham and I have to take my hat off to them for opening during this weird time. However, from the looks and visiting myself, they’ve been doing amazing and the support from the local community has been incredible. Nestled just out of the centre of the town, this cafe is beautiful. Light, airy, clean and welcoming, they offer a range of sweet and savoury baked goods, coffee, local eggs, fresh bread and a selection of gifts and cards. I’ve visited twice, once on their first weekend and more recently, taking Charlie with me after our run. I look forward to visiting more and being able to sit in and enjoy brunch when we are allowed to do so. Check out their website and find out more about them, here!

Lastly, if you are in the Henley area, check out The Henley Basket. An online support website where you can order takeaway, food and much more from local businesses, cafes and restaurants in Henley. With safe collection, I think it’s a great idea to keep the small independent businesses open! You can find out more about it by going to the website!

I want to thank all of these local businesses and cafes for opening back up, safely, to the community. It’s been so lovely to see you all so positive, smiley and keeping spirits high during these uncertain times.

I hope you’ve all had a good week and weekend, hopefully we are one step closer to being out of this. For now, take care and sending much love to you all!

Emma xx