Thursday, 30 May 2013

Be my guest

The very kind and lovely Rebecca at Blueberry Smiles has let me guest post on her wonderful blog,

Go and check it out while I eat some more gelato...

Ciao! x

Monday, 27 May 2013

A bellissimo Bank Holiday

I just love a Bank Holiday, although it does confuse the brain. What day is it again? Oh yes, Monday!
Three day weekends rule, particularly when followed by a trip to Sorrento on the Tuesday! Yep, I'm jetting off again, folks, this time for a friend's wedding. So, the blog will also be taking a little holiday while I sample gelato and Prosecco. Needs must.
Here's a round-up of the long weekend so far...
On Saturday I had to wait patiently for the nice man from Tesco to deliver my food shopping before I could tuck in to this tasty albacore tuna salad for lunch. I needed those Kalamata olives to be delivered you see. It wouldn't have been complete without them.
I then hot-footed it to the hairdresser, where I was treated to the spectacle that was the Naked Bike Ride in Southsea. Quite an eye-opener! Hair done and did, I had an early, simple supper of cold poached salmon with avocado, steamed greens and sweet potato. I was heading over to my home town for a family party for the evening, so needed to fuel up.

It was lovely to catch up with family and see my Mum. It always makes me happy. We even had a little dance and I managed to get up to 21,000 steps for the day! Particularly good as we just started the GCC step challenge at work.
I didn't drink at the party, so woke fresh and ready on Sunday and enjoyed my smoked salmon frittata with some greens added before heading out for a walk in the glorious sunshine. We're finally getting some good weather around here!

As the sun had his hat on, I pretty much spent the rest of the day in the garden and dined on my mackerel salad al fresco. A real treat - I'm determined to make the most of my garden this summer.

After whiling away the day, I got ready for a night on the town with friends. We went to Bombay Bay, an Indian restaurant down at our local marina. After a cheeky Sea Breeze cocktail at home to kick the evening off, The Boy and I strolled there in the sunshine.
I started with a Bombay Missali - chicken tikka, lamb tikka, sheek kebab and squid. I inhaled it!

Next up was duck sylhet, a hot dish which was creamy and spicy, with some okra on the side. I also enjoyed a bit of poppadom... and a number of glasses of Sauvignon Blanc. It was a great place to be on a sunny evening, overlooking the water. I'd recommend it.

We wanted to keep the party going, and my friend had a craving for limoncello, so we headed in to town for cocktails. We didn't find the limoncello but we did have a good dance. Good job I got my steps in early as I stumbled down a step on the way out of the pub at the end of the night and have sprained both my ankles! That'll teach me!
A little fuzzy of head, this salmon frittata and a pot of tea did wonders for me this morning. Now it's off to town (hobbling) for some last-minute holiday buys before ironing and packing later...

Sorrento, baby! Ciao!

Does your workplace get involved in any wellbeing initiatives?
The GCC step challenge is great - this is the third year running that we've taken part and it really ecnourages some healthy competition.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Feelin' crabby

Hi, lovelies. Sorry for the lack of a mid-week appearance - I was out and about eating fun stuff so I could take pictures for your viewing pleasure. Always working hard for ya.

It's been a busy week, with some highs and lows, so I thought I'd give you the edited highlights rather than every meal. I mean, you already knew I had fritatta for breakfast and some kind of fishy salad for lunch, right? Let's get straight to the main event...

Winning dinners

Tuesday was all about the refuel after a tough Real Military Fitness class. It was good to be back! Pork sausages and sweet potato mash and steamed green beans, made by The Boy. Even sweeter.

Wednesday was a special occasion - dinner with one of my best gals at Relentless Steak and Lobster, a restaurant I've been dying to try for a long time. On Wednesday you buy one main get one free. Rude not to. You do each have to buy two courses, but it still worked out very reasonable at £20 each, including a glass of wine for me (stressful week!).
I started with King scallops. They were huge and juicy and the chilli oil was divine. If I'd been home alone I would have licked the plate. Just sayin'.

The main event was a whole crab with a half pint of prawns and new potatoes. So much food! The crab was good, but the prawns were the surprise highlight. Really, really tasty. I'll go back for those alone. Win. It did take me about an hour to eat, though! And there was a whole lotta mess. Good job BC knows me well. Not a first date meal! Her lamb looked really good, too.

Thursday dinner followed another really tough training session - running up and down a steep hill had my knees begging for mercy. Once again, Andy came to my rescue with grilled pork chops, steamed greens and broccoli and leftover homemade apple, leek and brandy sauce I froze from our recent batch. I'll definitely be making more of that. I also added some sweet potato after.

Last night was dinner for one as Andy is on a stag weekend. I treated myself to Waitrose's Goan fish curry. God, it's good. So, so creamy. I enjoyed a glass of Sauv Blanc with it, as well as spinach and sweet potato. Later I snacked on an apple and some cashews and fell asleep on the sofa. Welcome to the weekend.

Non-food related highlights of the week... Yes, I do have them!
A new shopping centre opened on the doorstep at work. We went to investigate on Thursday and were rewarded with free Prosecco in Marks and Spencer for our troubles. Twice. Nice.

As we were working out on Thursday night the sun came out, it started raining, and then a rainbow appeared. Sums up why I don't do gyms.

I headed back to the new shopping centre on Friday (yep, it's a slippery slope) and treated us to these placemats. Sooo cute. The Chihuahua on the white mat looks like Lola!
Work was busy as it was my last day before a week off, and followed a crazy week. Good job I had a deep tissue massage booked for 6pm. It was good. I'm even a bit bruised but I did ask her to be firm. I have a lot of kinks to iron out!
And then, to top it off, Will Smith was on the Graham Norton Show singing the Fresh Prince theme tune, before bringing on Carlton to do the Carlton dance to 'It's not unusual'. Does life get any better?
Oh, go on then, this morning's frittata.

Happy Bank Holiday weekend!
PS. Someone found my blog by typing 'Can I be fit and still chocolate love' in to their search engine! Genius. Jury's out!
Massages - gentle or scream-worthy?
No pain, no gain.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Enjoying the Sea Breeze

It's Monday evening and I'm tired already! To be fair, it's the weekend still in effect and punishing me for two late nights on the booze. How are you? I hope the weekend treated you well? I had a lovely time, and caught up with lots of wonderful people, so at least my sleepiness is in a good cause. One more early night should sort me out I hope! It doesn't help that work has been quite intense... but just four more days to go before a week off. We can do this!

Saturday I was entertaining, celebrating the new garden with the friends who helped me make it beautiful. It was even warm enough to enjoy some Prosecco on the deck for a while before dinner!

I wanted to concentrate on hanging out with my loved ones rather than slaving over the cooker, so I made a very easy self-assembly meal of marinated grilled lamb cubes, Greek salad, warm pittas and dips, including homemade tzatziki. It went down really well and was so easy to do.

I bought four lamb steaks and marinated them for a few hours in olive oil, rosemary sprigs, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. I grilled them for four minutes each side then cubed them and kept them warm in the oven while warming the pittas through.
Greek salad was beef tomatoes, peeled  and chopped cucumber, red onion, green pepper and cubed feta with olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano, salt and pepper. I always get complimented on my Greek salads.
I made tzatziki using this recipe (could have done with more garlic for me) and bought hummus, salsa and taramasalata. LOVE taramasalata!
The production line method worked for drinks, too...
I enjoyed Prosecco, followed by some Sauvignon Blanc then Sea Breezes - Grey Goose vodka, cranberry juice and fresh lime. Mmm!
It was a great evening, very relaxed, ending with my friend's amazing apple crumble with cream. Perfect!
Sunday morning rolled around, as did the housework. I couldn't resist using up the lamb on my frittata for breakfast!

In the afternoon we went to Andy's nephew's birthday party, which was really nice. I enjoyed some salad, a burger and two sausages. I was trying to be good and resist the cakes after an indulgent few days. I was getting really tired by now, but went for a walk when we got back as I knew it would make me feel better than flaking on the sofa. It was a lovely, mild evening.
More meat for dinner! I've been craving it actually, but need to tone it down a bit! Kept it simple - grilled rib eye steak with steamed greens and tzatziki.

Back to fish this morning with my mackerel frittata.

But then a little bit of meat in my very tasty ham salad.

What a day. I've had my walk and now it's time to make dinner and lunches then catch up with a new show we're in to. Bed at 10pm. That's an order!
What time do you get to bed? How much sleep do you need?
I try to be in bed by 10.30... I need seven and a half hours ideally. I tend to get six and a half to seven.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Keep your cool

Good Saturday afternoon to you all. I must say, it's been one of those weeks and today hasn't really been much better! Work was stressy, I wasn't able to get to military fitness and, today, my new fridge wouldn't fit in it's new home and I have four people over for dinner later and a big grocery delivery due! First world problems, all, but not exactly conducive to relaxation. On the plus side, I've had some lovely walks, had fun with friends last night at Rock and Roll Bingo and had a nice lunch out today with my lovely boyfriend. Sunshine and showers - much like our May weather!

Wednesday night's ready-made dinner was pretty tasty! I love Waitrose's Goan fish curry and, best of all, it's Paleo-friendly. I served with with steamed vegetables, including spinach and butternut squash.

Thursday morning was anchovy frittata time.

More yummy fish at lunch in the form of my absolute favourite, mackerel salad with olives. My morning at work was ridiculous in terms of dealing with difficult individuals. Luckily I met up with BC and could vent and, ultimately, laugh about it.

I was impressed with BC's lunch, so took a picture. Artichoke - fancy!

Then we went for a walk and the swan babies made my heart sing. There are no words for this level of fluff.
The stress of the day was further shifted by an after-work walk. Real Military Fitness was cancelled - boo. I need to get back in the swing of it!
The Boy was out so I made a simple prawn stir fry for dinner.
It was good, but not really filling enough, and the leftover dark chocolate from making these babies proved far too tempting... not helped by a glass or two of wine. Toxic combination after a hard day and no exercise class. Fail!

Friday morning saw me determined to get back on the healthy eating wagon with a nice, safe salmon frittata.

But then I was faced with this at work...

Of course, ever sensible, I bought my salad in - tinned salmon with anchovies - and only had a couple of cheese and pineapple sticks...

But later in the afternoon, the sweets got the better of me. Sigh.
Dinner was gorgeous, and all the better as it was made by Andy and shared with BC. Accompanied by more wine - drying out next week! We had cod wrapped in parma ham with lemon mayonnaise and steamed broccoli and asparagus. So fresh and tasty and salty and zingy.
We lolled around on the sofa and laughed at Sh*t Girls Say before heading over to Rock and Roll Bingo at around 10pm - my usual bedtime! It was good fun, and The Boy even won a round! Just what I needed after the working week.
This morning I tried some frozen chargrilled vegetables from Waitrose that had been recommended to me. I got them to keep for emergencies when I haven't had a chance to roast my veggies. I served them with some salmon and a sweet potato. It was good, but I did miss my frittata. What's wrong with me! The veggies are great for a quick meal and cook from frozen in no time.

After BC went on her merry way, I skipped out for a walk. It was a beautiful morning.

Yarn-bombing. Love it!

So, we got the fridge to fit in the end, but it involved pulling some of the floor up! I thought we were going to have to send it back, and they'd already taken my old fridge to dispose of. Argh! Not what we needed, but we survived!

We celebrated over lardon salads at The Tenth Hole.

Now I need to prepare for my guests! It's nearly cocktail time... Yep, Monday is when the detox starts!
Have a wonderful weekend all.
Ever had an appliance/furniture fail like mine?
When we moved in we thought we weren't going to get my bed in my new bedroom at first! We got it there in the end, though. Stress!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Let it all out

Good evening, all. I hope you're feeling good? We made it to Wednesday, and that's all we can ask.

I just got off the phone after speaking to my Mum for an hour. If I've had a rough day, I always want to speak to her, and she always makes me feel better. I walked and talked - enjoying the seaside at the same time. It was the perfect antidote to a stressy day.

I hope your day's been calmer but, just in case, here's a soothing picture you can while away a few minutes over.

Guaranteed to feed the soul - chicken soup with veggies and rosemary was Monday's dinner. Altogether now, 'Ahh....'.

We watched a new drama, The Fall. It was good, but a little slow. We've decided to stick with it, though. The fact that the serial killer in it is pretty easy on the eye is not a motivator for me. Nope.
I just couldn't resist a little decoration for Tuesday's mackerel and vegetable frittata. My Chinese orchid has been flowering for about a year now, but they're slowly dropping off. So beautiful and delicate.

It rained all day here yesterday, so I went a bit stir-crazy stuck inside at work. I did manage to order some new shoes, though. Hey, a girl needs cheering up! And I did get some for Andy, too.
Lunch was leftover chicken and an assortment of yummy, crunchy vegetables. Another bright spot in a grey day.

Call me a wimp, but I was not about to attempt Military Fitness class in the driving wind and rain. So, I got my Jill on after work (Jillian Michaels, that is!) with a DVD! It's been soooo long. Sadly I didn't really get into it like I used to. I guess I much prefer outdoor, group exercise now. I've definitely changed a lot in that respect as I used to hate group exercise. Hopefully I'll make it to class tomorrow.

The scene in my 'home gym':

All that hard work could only really be rewarded one way. Grilled rib eye steak with steamed brocolli and spring greens and baked sweet potato. The steak came out perfect - medium rare and so tender. I grilled on high for 5 minutes on one side, 4 on the other then turned off the heat and let them rest for 10 minutes. Perfection. Impatience usually gets the better of me but the resting really is key.

This morning I went for anchovies on the frittata. I heart them. They were also in my chicken salad yesterday. Who knows where they'll turn up next?!

Here's my new office space - we moved to 'dynamic working' recently, which means we don't have our own desks and keep our stuff in a locker. I love it mainly because I can crank the desk up high and stand at it. So much better for you than sitting all day.

Lunch was ham and avocado salad before popping out to an appointment.

We were due to go out for dinner with friends tonight, but my friend wasn't feeling well, so we've postponed. Instead we went to Waitrose (fancy supermarket) and each picked what we wanted for dinner. Goan fish curry awaits me! I also need to make lunches, some peppermint creams for work and then it's time for The Apprentice. I better get to it!

Who do you always call after a rough day?

Monday, 13 May 2013

There goes the neighbourhood

Ooh, my neighbour bugs me! We all have them, and we all have to occupy the same little patch of earth as them. If only we all treated each other as we'd wish to be treated, the world would be a better place... Sigh.

Where I live we all have to park on the street and space is limited. When we got home today we made sure to park so there were two car spaces left between us and the other cars. Not for the first time our neighbour then comes home and parks smack bang in the middle of the two spaces, right outside his house. Is it just me? I mean? And it's not the first time... Gah! I won't even go in to his wife's singing...

Anyway, rant over and post-holiday normal blogging service returns.

Sunday was a lovely mix of relaxation and productivity.

I ate the usual breakfast and caught up on blogs.

Then The Boy and I went for a long seaside walk while the sun shone and we spotted this amazing cake!
Then I blogged and painted my nails, before meeting my Mum and her boyfriend at a lovely little pub called The Coal Exchange for this amazing lunch - roast beef with roast potatoes, green beans and cabbage, red cabbage in red wine and swede and carrot mash. I skipped the cauliflower cheese and donated the Yorkshire pudding to Andy. I also ate my Mum's veggies. And her boyfriend's. God it was good, and only £9 for that plate of goodness! I want to go every week!
The afternoon had turned dark and dreary so we rolled home and settled down on the sofa for a few hours, before a light dinner. Ye olde favourite salmon and ginger broth with pak choy.

We watched the BAFTAs and called it a night. A really nice, chilled weekend.
Monday breakfast - mackerel frittata again. Still love it and want it every day.

It was one of those mornings. Everything went wrong and I spilled boiling tea on myself. On the plus side, it was productive and ended with an impromptu lunch with BC. Salmon and avocado salad.

Followed by a walk and... eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Cygnets! Fluffy babies squeaking. Squeal! Amazing. This made me so happy. I. Can't Stand. The. Cuteness. Mum does have a head, by the way, so they'll be okay.

On that high note, let's forget bad neighbours. I've had an evening walk, bought my Lotto tickets for the week and am ready to make dinner and chill with my honey. Monday is done.
Any bad neighbour behaviour to report?