Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Spring Clean the Regime?

Okay, so before I went off on my jaunt, I spent the winter somehow managing to work out, cook for the family, see friends and watch the occasional episode of ANTM and Glee. Since I got back I just feel like my old regime was a bit too hectic and stressy, and what would often lead to me having a weekly binge due to residual stress building up. So, I am thinking, new season, new me, new timetable... but how to do it?!
What do I want to try and do?

  1. Cook dinner most week nights for Mum (it is my 'rent' after all) at a time that they like (ie. early!)
  2. Run at least three times a week, four if I do the GSR...
  3. Strength training/yoga/swimming - one of these at least once a week
  4. One or two walks a week with my cousin
  5. Seeing friends at least one week night and on the weekend

So, you see my problem, and I am starting to think that the only solution is to move my workouts to the am. I already get up at 6.10, so this is no mean feat, but I am willing to experiment. I will just have to be disciplined about early nights. At least it is summer so it will be light, and who knows, it may really energise me... We'll see!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Plodding On

Did a run today which felt harder than my first one after three months. Why is that? Sometimes it just isn't happening! Still managed a decent time, but just really felt like a slog. Maybe doing it without music didn't help.

Anyway, had a fairly indulgent but still healthy weekend, enjoying seasonal foods such as a gorgeous artichoke and halloumi salad (surprisingly filling, didn't really need the whole plate, but it was soooo tasty!) and sweet potato falafel for dinner Saturday. Unfortunately, I have discovered that smoked fish is NOT my friend. Had a lovely smoked buckling yesterday at lunch which then repeated on me for the rest of the day :( Big lunch meant I just had some porridge and a couple of slices of leftover veggie pizza for dinner. Okay, not totally healthy, but it was what I fancied. Plus I felt justified having cleaned my car inside and out and then having an hour's brisk walk (and good old chat) with my cousin in the afternoon.

ALl in all, a good weekend, which also involved a bit of wine and champagne and a few gin and bitter lemons on Saturday... well, we were celebrating my return to the UK, after all. Managed to pace myself and stay hangover free for Sunday. We like.

Today I just knocked up some spicy baked salmon with chilli, soy and parsley and flaked it over brown rice with some brocolli. I just really wanted something simple. I did add some 'Frank's Hot Sauce' that I sneaked on to the Ocado order, but it wasn't hot enough for me! Lunch was another treat out (love all these 'get togethers'!) and I had a mezze platter of pitta, olives, hummus, tzatziki and salsa :) Other snacks included Patersons Chilli Oat Bites, an apple and some walnuts. Breakfast was a real mish mash - all bran, oats, mixed seeds, walnut, dried apricot with soya milk and tea. Now I reckon I will make myself some cocoa and that will be that for today.

Lots to do at the moment - sorting finances and holidays (yes, already planning escape) and what I am doing for pretty much the rest of the year. This includes possibly doing the Great South Run (sent off my application today) which would mean a lot to me as the supporting charity this year is Alzheimers UK and both of my grandparents have suffered. My run today disheartened me a little, but I know I can do it... any tips or inspiration for me?!

And now? Time to c h i l l ... x

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Back on the Road

Today I attempted my first run for three months, and it was surprisingly okay. The legs felt a bit leaden at times, but I wasn't too out of breath, and barely broke a sweat! I did only do a relatively short run just to ease myself in, but I don't think it will take long to get back up to the three milers I managed before I went away. Not a marathon, sure, but an achievement for me :)

I was still feeling really sluggish at work today and so sleepy in the afternoon. I need to work out how to move about more in the office during the day without looking too crazy. Any ideas?!

I realise I should be posting pictures of my eats, but one step at a time - part of my brain is still in Vegas! Here's the lowdown:

Breakfast:

  • Luxury Fruit and Nut Muesli mixed with All Bran, cinnamon and soya milk
  • Two cups of black tea with soya milk
  • Raspberry Soya Yoghurt

Snacks:

  • Pear and a few almonds

Lunch:

  • Food Doctor Seeded Bagel
  • Tuna salad with carrot, tomato, celery, romaine and cucumber with olive oil and white wine vinegar and mixed herbs
  • Plum

Snack:

  • Two oatcakes

Dinner:

  • Beetroot and feta parcels with tomato, cucumber, romaine and spring onion salad (recipe will follow - very yummy!)
  • Apple

I may have a hot chocolate in a minute. I have also had over a litre of water and redbush and herbal teas throughout the day.

Oh, and I am typing this on a swiss ball!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Lagging Behind

Gah! Jetlag hit at work today, and I had to resort to an emergency cupcake hit mid-afternoon just to perk me up. Luckily my friend was with me so had half to make me feel a bit more virtuous. It was my absolute favourite, a red velvet from
Swallow Bakery. The frosting on these babies is divine, and who can resist that deep, dark red...

In other news, my fabulous breakfast tided me over for hours - soy chai latte, homemade with a dash of honey, which accompanied porridge cooked with banana and a good dollop of peanut butter and co PB (made with 100% peanuts, you can get it in Tesco). I actually had half a banana in the porridge and the other half in the car!
Lunch was a pear followed by butter bean, carrot, celery and tomato salad drizzled with olive oil and white wine vinegar and topped with a sprinkling of dill. After a Soy Chai which my lovely friend treated me to at Starbucks, I then tucked in to the cupcake half. Afternoon snacks were a plum and two oatcakes with PB.
Dinner was cooked by lovely Mum - my chef's whites go back on tomorrow - a spag bol with loads of crunchy veggies such as baby corn and pepper, and I added a side salad of cucumber, tomato and spring onion, with more dill, olive oil and vinegar. Mmm mm. Later I snacked on a couple of almond biscuits from Waitrose, which are so tasty. I love almonds, and these really taste nutty and have little bits in.
Well, totally zombified now! Night!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The Name



I suppose I should start with a little explanation, although for many I doubt the fabulous combination of chilli and chocolate will need any! Over the last few years I have become increasingly obsessed with spicy foods, especially chilli. I realised it was just getting silly in a Vegas noodle restaurant the other night when I was adding chilli to a beef dish already, literally, swimming in it. If it doesn't make my eyes water with a mixture of pleasure and pain, it just doesn't cut it for me.


I discovered the chilli chocolate combination last year in Tunbridge Wells, with a fabulous hot chocolate at Cafe Chocolat in The Pantiles (sorry, no website). My chilli chocolate odyssey then continued on my travels, culminating in two very different forms. The first was the picture attached to my blog - the best chilli hot chocolate EVER, which I found at a lovely little chocolate cafe called Ganache in Melbourne. It was divine - creamy, dense chocolate, and a real hit from the chilli at the back of the throat. Mmmmm. Typically, as with many food delights on my travels, I only discovered the place on my last day there, so had only the one taste. I HAVE to go back! The next adventure was at an old-fashioned Italian ice cream parlour in Newtown, Sydney (I will try and track down the name), where I tried the chilli chocolate ice cream. Wow! Really chocolately and, again, despite the cold, got the heat hit from the chilli (apparently, many people combine it with the peanut butter flavour - another obsession of mine, as you will discover). Australia knows how to do my favourite combination, and I have not found any to match these two since, but I will keep trying in the name of research!


So, I arrived back in the UK yesterday after a three month trip which took in Singapore, Australia, Argentina, Peru, Brazil and the US. Everything is still sinking in, and I go back to work tomorrow! As such, I can't say I have made much effort with my meals since I touched down, and will not be resuming my job as head chef at home for a couple of days (my payment for living at home!), as my Mum is kindly giving me a reprieve while I settle back in. Likewise, on the exercise front I don't think I'll be attempting my first run until the weekend!



Back to reality...