Straight in, Straight out

Hey friends!!

Haha I’ve just reread the post title, and I realise it may sound a little gross, but trust me, I don’t mean it like that! Smile with tongue out It’ll all be explained!!

And thanks lovelies for your kind comments and your FAQ requests! I’m writing them up over the weekend, so feel free to keep your questions coming! Smile

Breakfast was some lovely choco-banana oatmeal:

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And some unpictured granola for post-brekkie munchies! Smile with tongue out

My good deed for the day was writing an Operation Beautiful note in the gym! For some unknown reason there is a whiteboard in there, so when no-one was looking, I left a little love for everyone.

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YOU are beautiful: weight does NOT measure worth

It feels so good to do that! Smile

So the post title? Well today I was handed this ominous looking envelope…DSC05708…but it was a cheque! I finally got paid for a quartet job (I’m a musician) I did at the Foreign Office back in September! A little late I know, but I got paid extra because of it! Open-mouthed smileI am not a saver. Well, I do try, but fail quite spectacularly.

So with this money I am probably purchasing these bad boys:

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Saucony Fastwitch 4 Performance/Race shoes!! They’re supposed to be awesome! Open-mouthed smile

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I think the idea behind these ultra-vivid colours is to blind your race competitors, thereby allowing you to overtake and win. Smart thinking Saucony, but ya can’t fool me! Smile with tongue out

Honest opinion on the shoes? Do you prefer the orange or green, or do you think they’re both equally vile? I personally quite like the brightness, and am leaning towards the orange… To runners, do you have race/other shoes, or do you just use your normal ones?  I know some runners have a thousand different pairs of shoes for different things, but at the mo I just have my beloved Asics that I use for everything!

And are you a saver or a spender? Have you got any saving tips for spendaholics like me? I try and save at least 10% of my earnings, but that usually ends up being spent at Whole Foods on food in general…!

Off now to bake some chocolate chip cookies from this amazing cookbook:

Vegan with a Vengeance

 It’s certainly gonna be a wild Friday night for me! Winking smile

 Have a great weekend y’all! And stay tuned for my abs post coming up soon! Open-mouthed smile

Tackling the 2011 goals

Hello lovelies! How’s 2011 treating ya?

I woke up behind schedule today after another late night (bad habit!) and was slightly late for church! Whilst throwing on clothes, I threw a slice of bread in the toaster and the ingredients for a breakfast smoothie in the blender. BLEND.DSC05298

Just had enough time to gulp it down and slather PB on my toast before dashing out the door and running down the road to church. Whilst eating my toast. And wearing this hat:untitled

Okay, I don’t have that ultra-cool hat (yet), or this equally cool shirt…untitled 2

…but my birthday’s only 9 months away…got the subtle hint guys? Winking smileAnd yes, I do look like that person on the shirt when eating PB. Foodgasm alert.

Anyway, moving swiftly on! I had a quick lunch before going shopping (yes, again!).DSC05318

Houmous and sautéed courgette on toast, with more courgette and smoked almond+sesame seed tofu on the side. Followed by…DSC05324

Dark choccie x3. Obviously.

Shopping mission today? To get hand weights to help accomplish 2011 goal #7! Mission accomplished. 2 x 2.5kg hand weights which were half price! Open-mouthed smileDSC05328

DSC05308But it wasn’t easy, I can tell ya that! Getting them home involved 5 plastic bags, which subsequently broke, and so I had to stuff them in my handbag.DSC05302

Poor handbag. It wasn’t designed for carrying >5kg, and neither was my shoulder! Smile with tongue outBut hopefully I’ll do a weight training post this week, so keep your eyes peeled!

I also used up the last of my book shop gift card on this book which totally caught my eye:DSC05311

DSC05310Babycakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-about Bakery

This book is the bomb. Yes, that good. Looking through the recipes, I loved everything!

And with ingredients lists like this…

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Ingredients for raspberry scones

…and with pictures like this…

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Double chocolate crumb cake

can ya blame me? I can’t wait to bake some stuff from here! Open-mouthed smile

So I’m off to spend an hour all night looking through this book.

Do you get excited over recipe books, or is it just me? Seriously, I could happily spend  whole day perusing one! And have any of you started making headway on your New Years Resolutions/Goals? I’ve stuck to doing some yoga everyday so far (well it has only been 2 days to be fair!) and am getting moving on the weight training. Also, I’m planning to go to some new exercise classes over the next few days which is exciting! SmileSo numbers 5, 6 and 7 on their way!

Have a great evening! I know I sure will! Winking smile

Running, Shopping, Eating

Today was a busy busy day! I began the morning with a tempo run, with my fastest mile at 7.50 min/mile. I’m slowly getting faster! Open-mouthed smile But this little *something* screwed up my run a bit!DSC05113

The heart-rate monitor that comes with the Garmin. It was too big, even on the smallest adjustment, so I tried tucking it in to the band of my sports bra, but that failed too! So a lot of my run was spend hitching it back up until I gave up, stopped, took it off, and ran holding it! Smile with tongue out I’ve tied a knot in it now, so hopefully it’ll be okay next time!DSC05114

I also did 30mins on the elliptical/cross-trainer at the gym, and wore my new top that I bought yesterday in the sales:

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I bought the white version a while back, and I love it, so when I saw this blue one on sale I snapped it up! Smile 

Pre-exercise brekkie was my usual PB on toast, and post-workout breakfast was choco-banana oatmeal:DSC05100

And then my family hit Bluewater shopping centre…again! Although thankfully we got in and out easily, unlike yesterday! And I got some awesome purchases today! Open-mouthed smile

These boots were reduced to £20:DSC05123

Nike tempo shorts were half price! They came in tons of different colours (I have a black/green/white pair already) but I ended up going with simple black+white, because it’ll go with anything on top!DSC05137

And the most exciting purchase? Of the year/decade?DSC05127

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Asics Gel Cumulus 2 reduced to £30! Open-mouthed smile After trying on thousands of pairs of running shoes, I fell in love with these! Although I don’t need a new pair quite yet, I’m buying them in advance to save some money. But I don’t know if I’ll be able to resist the temptation of wearing them! They’re much better than my current Asics, and are cheaper than they were too!DSC05130

After all that bargain-hunting, dinner was consumed at Nando’s restaurant. I had a ‘portobello mushroom and grilled halloumi cheese burger’ without the halloumi and with a mixed leaf salad on the side.DSC05125

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The side salad was huge! It was perfect- I was really craving greens after eating so much junk recently!

So tell me, have you bought any sale bargains? And do you crave certain foods after eating a lot of junk?

Tomorrow I’m going to an early BodyPump class (I haven’t been in a couple of weeks, so it’s going to hurt!), and my post will be a recap of my 2010, which has certainly been a very eventful year!

Hope you’ve had a great day too! Smile

Vegan double gingerbread cookies

So yesterday, I made a ton of delicious gingerbread cookies! And guess what? There isn’t a single one left this evening! Surprised smile That’s 39 cookies eaten in less than 24 hours, for your information! My family and I decimate all baked goods. Fact. I’ll get to the recipe in a moment. The rest of my day first! Smile

Today I didn’t have oatmeal for breakfast! I can hear your incredulous gasps of disbelief, but it is true! I opted for a apple-cinnamon yoghurt parfait  instead!DSC04726

Simply a chopped apple, sprinkled with cinnamon, covered with soya yoghurt which was topped with my yummy Bodymatter granola.DSC04727

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While this was delicious, it wasn’t as filling as my oatmeal, so a mid-morning snack of this followed:DSC04734

A Bounce almond protein ball! The 12g of protein kept me satisfied for ages while I hit the shops for yet more Christmas shopping! I had lunch whilst rushing round the shops, which was a houmous and falafel wrap:DSC04116

All I’ve got left to get now is my brother’s Christmas card, and that’s it! Just have to keep my fingers crossed for that Amazon delivery now! Smile

Before I left for my shopping trip, I remembered that I’d seen a gym attached to the shopping centre last time, so I packed some clothes and took some time out from my shopping to hit the gym for a quick 45 min workout! And I was super excited when I got there to find that this gym was so posh! Well actually it was probably quite average, but my local gym has very ‘vintage’ (circa 19th Century probably!) machines, so these seemed amazing to me! A treadmill with a TV?!DSC04730

Wow. I loved it! Must do this whole shopping+working out thing again! Open-mouthed smile In my post-workout shopping I picked up this Trek bar and munched happily away…DSC04736

So how is your Christmas shopping going? Got everything yet? Oh, and have you regulars noticed the blog theme change? Like it? I do! I think it’s much more ‘me’ than the last one! On that note, there are going to be a more few minor blog changes coming up soon, just so ya know! Smile

Anyway, back to the cookies!

Vegan double gingerbread cookies (adapted from here)

  • 140g vegan spread (or unsalted butter)
  • 100g molasses sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (or molasses, golden syrup etc.)
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda 
  • 2 tsp ground ginger and 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 balls stem ginger from a jar, chopped finely <—-hence the double gingerness of the cookies, for Maria who asked! Smile
  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment. Melt spread, sugar and syrup in a pan until a smooth liquid forms. Mix the flour, soda and spices together in a bowl. Stir in the liquid and chopped ginger to make a stiff-ish dough.
  2. If necessary, wait until cool enough to handle, then roll out dough to about 5mm thick. Stamp out shapes using cookie cutters, re-rolling and pressing the trimmings back together and rolling again. Lift onto baking sheets. Bake for approx 8-12 mins (depending on the size of your cookies and on your oven) until golden. Cool 10 mins on the sheets, then lift onto cooling racks. Once fully cooled, ice/decorate if desired. Enjoy! Open-mouthed smile

First, assemble your ingredients for melting (spread, sugar and syrup):DSC04689

Melt away!DSC04700

Panic because you realise you didn’t check first to see if you had any ground ginger. Toss everything out of your cupboards until you finally find some, and try not to faint with relief.DSC04690

Or you can just be organised and check beforehand. Up to you really!

Mix together your dry ingredients:DSC04691

I actually just threw in the spices (couldn’t find a teaspoon measurer- can you tell I’m slightly disorganised? Smile with tongue out), so I’m not sure exactly of the amounts I used, but it turned out fine anyway!

Finely chop your ginger (I used two stem ginger balls that were in syrup, drained well).DSC04694

Mix everything together until a dough is formed. Warning: this dough, like most cookie doughs, is highly addictive. Now, if you gorge yourself like I did, you can’t say I didn’t warn you! Winking smileDSC04701

And then comes the fun bit…rolling and cutting! As its Christmas, I used small angel and star cookie cutters…DSC04703

…and a few other random cutters for the scraps:DSC04705

I then added a bit of green icing (green=Xmas!) to some of them. I would have iced them completely, but I had less than 50g of icing sugar in the house, so I made do with what little I had! Smile with tongue out

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That’s for all you wonderful readers, who are all stars to me! Smile

Eat, Sleep, Run

Hello lovelies!
Sorry for the lack of posting yesterday- was getting paid £80 an hour at a last minute quartet job! Open-mouthed smile Also managed to get in a slow (avg 8.40) 4 mile run, but the ankle was feeling a bit tight afterwards, so I’m resting it today. Saying that, I did do aerobics…does that count? Smile with tongue out

Dinner was homemade shepherd’s pie (made with soya mince) with a side salad and beetroot:DSC04547

Ooh and breakfast was a good-un! Yesterday I’d used up the can of pumpkin I had been slowly working my way through every morning, so this morning I had something different: choco-banana-coconut oatmeal! And it was made on the stovetop! SmileDSC04565

Made exactly the same as before, but with shredded coconut stirred in and sprinkled on top. SO delicious! Open-mouthed smile

I also did a bit more shopping (story of my life! Smile with tongue out) and found some really cool running hoodies that were on sale! They had slogans like ‘Live to run’, ‘Born to run’, ‘Just been running’,etc and were in a ton of colours. (By the way, rubbish camera-phone photos alert!)DSC04571

This was my favourite slogan:DSC04574

Add ‘bake’ in there somewhere and you have my life in four words! So of course, I bought it! I thought I’d take the opportunity to show you my kick-ass modelling skills:DSC04588

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Haha- the attempted pout! Actually it just looks like I’m sucking a lemon, but I’ll work on it! Winking smile

I also started on my cupcake-making!DSC04578

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They are not yet frosted, so I will share the finished products with you tomorrow! But I highly doubt they are going to look quite as perfect as the picture above from the book…! Smile with tongue out

Much as I love baking, I hate the mess at the end!DSC04579

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I never clear up as I go; I pile it up into a mountain of dirty dishes to wash at the end! Are you organised and clean up as you go along, or are you messy like me?

And I’ll leave you all with the reminder that, as I write this, it is just 10 DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS!

Does that make you excited/happy or make you panic? I’m experiencing both right now, as I still have all my family’s presents to get, so a bit panicky! But on the other hand, I know exactly what Santa is bringing me (he let slip by accident! Smile with tongue out) and I can’t wait! You’ll see 10 days from now! Open-mouthed smile

Enjoy the rest of your week!

“Colds are bums”

What can I say, I have regressed to my childish self! This was a common phrase I used when I was younger- everything bad was “a bum”. Well this cold really is! So I decided to give myself a head start in my recovery with my breakfast- a Recovery Green Monster:DSC03780

Well, this was actually just a regular GM topped with Grape Nuts, but GM’s are chock full of vitamins, iron and all sorts of other good stuff, so bring on the quick recovery! Smile

And what is the second best way to cure colds after Green Monsters? Retail therapy of course! Smile with tongue outarticle-0-01AEDF4800000578-22_468x315_popup

This is the Bluewater shopping centre- the second largest in the UK! I love it Smile

I decided to look around the book store first, as one of the Christmas presents I opened last week was a gift card for Waterstones. I came across ‘The Kind Diet’…DSC04499

…and basically spent half an hour reading it in store! I’m pretty sure this isn’t allowed, but it seemed quite good! I also seriously contemplated buying this book:DSC04500

It seemed really good- tons of good recipes and every one had pictures! I love recipe books with pictures! Smile

Other buys included some running gloves (I had a £5 Sweatshop voucher I had to use by today, and so they came to £3!) and two lots of dark chocolate:DSC04509

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I also saw the movie ‘Unstoppable’, which was really good! So exciting the whole way through! I may have consumed a fair amount of dark chocolate whilst watching…! Winking smile

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I bought lunch from a cafe- I had organic tomato and basil soup, with brown bread.DSC04502

I had this light lunch at about 4pm, because I have spent the whole day snacking! Eats included about a thousand servings of my (addictive!) favourite granola:DSC04497

A Trek bar:DSC04498

Rice cakes topped with Marmite and PB:DSC04399

Almonds:DSC04518

And a ton of other unpictured things! It’s just one of those days…

Because of all the snacking, dinner was light too, and was good old beans on toast (my homemade bread!):DSC04513

Followed by soya yoghurt and a huge blob strawberry jam:DSC04516

I then proceeded to finish off the jam by eating it straight from the jar! I do love jam! Smile with tongue outDSC04517

As soon as I got back, some serious present wrapping ensued!DSC04519

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My group of close friends and I do a ‘Secret Santa’ every year, which is great because it saves you money, is more fun, and you get a better present that you actually want! This is for my Secret Santa:DSC04526

It’s a CD and a book that she requested, so I know she’ll love it! I can’t wait to see what I get! Open-mouthed smile

So tell me, what are the best movies you’ve seen recently? Unstoppable makes my list, as does HP7 obviously! And what are your favourite snacks?

Hope you’ve had a great weekend! Smile

Pumpkin Spelt Pancakes

I am very happy, wonderful readers, because I have a camera again! Borrowed one from my parents, and celebrated this event by having pumpkin pancakes for breakfast! Open-mouthed smile And who doesn’t love a cute little stack of pancakes to brighten up their morning?DSC04460

Pumpkin Spelt Pancakes (adapted from Angela’s recipe)

  • 1/2 cup wholegrain spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used coconut)
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or mixed spice)
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Spray a pan with EVOO spray (or just use oil) and heat it on medium/low. Mix dry ingredients together. Then stir together the wet separately (pumpkin+milk), and add to dry. Stir until a batter is formed. Then spoon (I used a tablespoon) onto the pan and cook for a couple of minutes until lightly browned, then flip and do the same for the other side. Makes 5 mini pancakes (serves 1). Add toppings and enjoy! Open-mouthed smile

First, assemble the ingredients:DSC04467

Mix together the dry ingredients:DSC04446

Stir together wet ingredients, and admire the colour!DSC04445

Dry+wet:DSC04451

Flipping is the scary bit! I’ve never been an expert pancake flipper, but will be someday! Smile with tongue outDSC04457 

The batter is really quite thick, which results in quite thick, fluffy pancakes. Just how I like ‘em! Winking smile I simply topped mine with agave nectar, but you can get really creative with your toppings. The possibilities are endless! Open-mouthed smile

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Oooh…fluffiness…DSC04464

Cardio today was a five hour crazy shopping trip. Trust me, this was one hell of a workout! Smile with tongue out I succeeded in getting most presents and in severely depleting the savings in my bank account. But it was worth it! Lunch was had at Pret, and was a chunky houmous salad wrap.DSC04468

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During my marathon trip, I stopped often to admire the lights and decorations, which were really quite good this year!DSC04471

This is less than half the bags I ended up with:DSC04473

The rest are still in my car, as I couldn’t carry them all out at once! Smile with tongue out I also got given a Trek flapjack for free (yay!) by the nice lady at the health store, which I’m adding to my stash! SmileDSC04475

I have a question. Is it wrong to read the books you have bought for other people as a present? Its just that I bought this for a friend…DSC04476

…and have been perusing it for quite a while now! I can’t help it- I love recipe books! Open-mouthed smile 

The rest of the afternoon was spent finishing putting up the Christmas decorations in the house. Obviously this had to be done wearing a Santa hat. Like it? Smile with tongue outDSC04482

I am one cool being!DSC04481

Afternoon snackage included a bowl of Ultra Bran cereal+coconut milk:DSC04479

I love Saturday nights! Partly because it is X Factor time, and partly because Saturday nights are Ready-Meal Night. Tonight I chose Innocent’s Indian Daal veg pot.DSC04485 Not only does this have 3 portions of veg in it, but it was suitable for vegetarians+vegans and has a whopping 34.6g of protein in it! Win! Open-mouthed smileDSC04490

How is your Christmas shopping going? I’ve got all the presents I need for my friends (thank goodness!), and am ordering the family’s online! And do you have certain food ‘nights’? As well as Ready-Meal Saturday, I have Quick-From-The-Freezer Friday, so two lazy nights in a row! Smile with tongue out

Hope you’re having a great weekend! Enjoy your Sunday Smile