Black & blue

Hi everyone,

Sorry it's been a little while since my last post - I had a pretty busy weekend and work has been hectic too so haven't had much time to post.

Today's post has the title 'Black & blue' for two reasons. Firstly because as I mentioned in my previous posts I am making one hell of an effort to improve my fitness levels and overhaul my body. It is a sad fact that once you reach a certain age as a woman, you need to work harder at keeping fit if you still want to enjoy good food. I never used to be active when I was younger and was quite over-weight as a result (trust me, there are photos to prove it!)  but eventually I got fed up with feeling tired, lethargic and out of breath if I ever had to run for the bus and sad that my clothes didn't fit me the way I wanted them to. So I embarked on a 10 year period of yo-yo dieting which usually left me feeling miserable but helped get rid of the weight.

Then one day I decided enough was enough, I needed to learn to enjoy exercising then I could eat whatever I wanted (within moderation). Don't get me wrong, I work hard in the gym, in the pool, playing rugby and running and I do this at least 5 times a week so that I can afford myself a couple of treat days where I don't need to worry about what I eat/drink. I also eat as healthily as I can 80% of the time without compromising on quality or flavour.

This post isn't designed to be a propaganda piece on 'skinny', at a healthy size 12 I am not skinny and nor do I long to be. There are many women out there who aren't secure or confident in their own skin and take being thin for aesthetic reasons to extremes and that is sad and harmful. My motto is strength, my aim is to be toned, lean and muscular - all the better to perform to at my best in my chosen sports. But all this hard work can sometimes leave me feeling like I'm bruised black and blue!!

I go through periods of being obsessed (literally) with Pinterest then not looking at it for months. Lately I have found it useful for health and fitness inspiration - whether that be fashionable gym wear or mottos and quotes to help keep me focused.

All images above courtesy of Pinterest.
The weather over the weekend was b-e-a-utiful wasn't it?! I got up to quite a bit....
With the first signs of Spring I love to fill my house with flowers so I bought some daffodils.

The girls I used to live with came over for dinner on Friday night and bought me some beautiful roses.

I went to get my shellac re-done on my nails.

I opted for a really zingy watermelon hue.

I ran 4.2 miles in the lovely sunshine

I needed Lucozade and Grazia afterwards!
On Saturday night 'Mister Whatlisawrote' and I went for a date night at Wagmamas then the cinema to see Evil Dead.
Yasai Yaki Soba - my favourite.

On Sunday I went to my parent's house and took my bike out for a 12 miler, it was a fairly relaxed ride as I'm still recovering from a whiplash injury I suffered just over a week ago so I can't go too mad on the exercise front, booooo.

I spent some quality time with Bertie who was all tired out after playing all morning with the Labrador at the stables my Mum keeps her horses at.

And finally, the other reason for the title black & blue! Those were the colours in my outfit today.

Dress - H&M
Cardigan - Topshop
Belt - Primark
Jacket - H&M
Bag - Fiorelli
Hope you all had a lovely weekend and enjoyed the sunshine.

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Skinny girl hot dogs, fries and 'slaw

Hey everyone!

I hope you're all well and enjoying the first beautiful signs of Spring!! When the weather is nice I long for fresh, bold flavours in my cooking and no longer enjoy heavy, stodgy food. I've also been on a major health & fitness kick lately - I am training for a 10k later this year - and just generally trying to eat smarter after a few weeks recently of waaay too much chocolate (yes Easter, I am looking at you).

When 'Mister Whatlisawrote' and I went to the Great Missenden food festival we picked up a few packs of delicious sausages from a stall called 'Giggly Pig' and one of the flavours was Lime & Sweet Chilli. Now, this flavour combination doesn't sound quite right teamed with mash and gravy. Plus I'm trying to eat more healthily. So I figured I'd try and come up with a 'skinny' version of hot dogs, fries and coleslaw. It was a good combo so I'm sharing the recipe with you!!

What you will need (for 2 hungry people or 3-4 not so hungry people!)

For the Coleslaw
1/2 white cabbage
1 red onion
1 carrot
3 tablespoons of reduced fat creme fraiche
1 heaped tablespoon of whole grain mustard
salt and pepper to taste

For the Fries
1 large sweet potato
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt
cracked black pepper
chilli flakes

For the Hot Dogs
4 submarine rolls (if you want to keep it ultra healthy get wholegrain instead of white)
Pack of 6 good quality, organic sausages (these will produce much less fat when cooked as they are made from better ingredients, the higher the meat content the nicer and healthier they will be), or veggie sausages - the Quorn ones are delicious!

First peel your sweet potato and cut it into chips.

Next arrange in a baking tray, pour over the olive oil and season. Then put in the oven for 45 minutes at 200 degrees.

While your fries are in the oven, roughly chop your cabbage, onion and carrot in preparation for shredding in your food processor (if you have one). If you don't have a food processor there are nifty little devices called Mandolins that you can buy which cut vegetables into thin strips. I like this one.

Once your veggies are shredded put them in a large bowl and grab your creme fraiche and your mustard. I like the Yeo Valley creme fraiche but own brand ones are just as good.

Stir it all together until all the veggies are coated. Then season for a bit of extra flavour.

Et voila, skinny coleslaw!

Now get your bangers out (haha - oh dear) and if you've got a George Forman grill I recommend you use it, if not then put your sausages under the grill in your oven.

Get your submarine rolls ready.

By now your fries should be done so get them out of the oven and plate up with the coleslaw and the rolls.

Once your sausages are cooked add them to the rolls.

And there you have it, a delicious home cooked, healthy version of fast food to be enjoyed on a relaxed night in front of the television.

Flowery pyjamas optional.


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Spring Wants

The sun is shining today! Even if it is still blinking freezing. So my thoughts are turning to spring. After months of wearing jeans, leggings, tights and thick sweaters in 'slurry' colours (albeit perfect for dark and dreary days, it lends you an elegant and moody edge, no?) I no longer want to look - as Bridget Jones' Mother puts it - "like I've escaped from Auschwitz" and I'm craving some popping colours in my wardrobe!!

Here are some of my picks for Spring....
The Coat

I've always wanted a classic trench-coat and whilst there are plenty on the high street to be had, the quality, cut and price varies massively. This one from ASOS comes in bang on the money and looks more high end than the price tag would lead you to believe.
The Tops

A simple white shirt looks great with jeans or more tailored pieces. I love the shoulder detail and deconstructed feel of this H&M one.

A loose grey basic jersey top is a great staple item and can be teamed with jeans, tailored trousers or skirts for a pared down look. I'm really liking the silhouette on this H&M sweater.
This striped jumper from GAP is in a fresh and vibrant colour-way - perfect for perking up neutral trousers or jeans.
The Bottoms

Ever since J-Brand released their skinny, ankle skimming cargo pants I have been lusting after a pair but couldn't afford the celebrity price tag. This similar pair from H&M won't break the bank and will look uber cool worn with any of the tops I've referenced above.

Oh do I LOVE a leopard print, completely obsessing over these H&M skinny jeans!!

Chinos always look fresh for Spring - on dry days! I like the turn ups and the slim cut on these ones from H&M.

These pyjama style trousers will be perfect with a tee and flats for warmer days, a sweater and trainers for cooler days and a shimmery vest and strappy heels for a laid back girl's night out look. From H&M and in the sale!!
The Dresses
I am a sucker for a polka dot sundress and definitely need this H&M beauty in my life. Perfect with a cardi, tights and boots on cooler days and bare legs, sandals and gold jewellery on warm days.

A nautical dress is one of my favourite things ever and this one from H&M is totally on my list for work and play!

I adore the print, colour and cut out shoulder detail on this Zara number, perfect for Spring weddings and smarter days in the office.

The pockets on this Topshop dress are a cute detail and I really like the shape of it, it's just right for laid back Spring days.

And don't forget - shoes!

I recently discovered a new shoe brand called Jemima Vine, unfortunately their shoes are a little out of my price range but this pair have found their way into my dreams so maybe I should get saving!!
 Although I think a few of these may have already found their way into my shopping basket... oops!
What are your Spring must-haves?

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