Zombies, Run! 5K Week 6

Image: New Scientist

Image: New Scientist

This is slightly behind where I wanted to be in my blog updates, as I was a bit behind; I had to stop during my first attempt at workout 1 of the week due to cramp and then work stuff meant I didn’t get out when I wanted. However, despite week 6 ALMOST KILLING ME (not really, but it was hard!), I survived and have started week 7.

So what can I tell you about week 6? Well, it was brutal. Lots of longer running and squats. In public. I am not an unkind person and decided to walk these sections and do the squats at home. I doubt the good people of Brighton would have wanted my bum in their front windows. I also made sure I did more hill walking to counteract the fact I wasn’t squatting.

Two things happened this week too- my average distance went to 6k and I also had the best run of my running career so far. I can’t explain what made it so, but I felt brilliant afterwards and like I’d really achieved something. My plan is that next Saturday, which will coincide with the end of the 5k training, I will bite the bullet and do Hove park run. Benn has been doing it for years and has nagged me to give it a go for a while. He’s even bought me a running jacket, which is possibly the most romantic thing he’s done for me this year.

Week 6

Distance: 20.25km

Time: 3:00:50

Super easy customisable egg fried rice recipe

I’ve been promising to write up this recipe for ages- it’s a Saturday night staple for us, especially in the autumn and winter (it’s a handy ‘lap dinner’ that we eat when watching Strictly.) I can’t remember where I got the original recipe from, but it’s definitely evolved over the years. It’s pretty healthy and low fat and best of all, it’s very easy and customisable- I wish I’d known how to make this dish when I was a student! Now, I don’t want to get your hopes up, but I’m not the new Nigella.

So, the ingredients- this makes enough for two. If Benn didn’t have a ‘growing lad’s’ appetite, there’d probably be leftovers:

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As well as what you can see here, I add a couple of cloves of garlic and a touch of ginger (which, brilliantly, Benn forgot to buy.) The ingredients above: prawns  a bunch of spring onions, two small-ish tomatoes, a small tin of garden peas, two medium eggs, a red pepper, a cup of basmati rice, sweet chilli dipping sauce and light soy sauce.

I boil the rice in boiling water straight from the kettle with a drop of groundnut oil before I do anything else. The rice needs to be fluffy and I like it slightly sticky, too. While the rice is cooking, I chop all the veggies (top tip: I chop up the spring onions with a pair of scissors) and beat the eggs in the cup which held the rice (saves on washing up!)

Once the rice has cooked, I drain it and let it cool. I fry the garlic and scramble the eggs in the wok/pan. Then I add the prawns. Then, once those are cooked, I add the veggies and a mix of the chilli sauce and the soy sauce, until I like the taste. I told you this wasn’t complex!

Finally, I add the rice and stir it up. Et voilà! Stupidly simple egg fried rice:

eggfriedrice.jpgAs I said, this is a really versatile and healthy dish. It’s easy to use whatever you want in terms of meat and veggies (although Gok SWEARS that the holy trinity of Chinese cooking is garlic, ginger and spring onions, so I reckon you would probably need those at the very least…)

Anyway, enjoy!

 

Gutenberg’s Apprentice- Alix Christie*

Guternberg's Apprentice

I’m fortunate enough to be a member of Bookbridgr and so am lucky to get review copies of books- this is one of them. I was super excited to get my hands on this. After all, it’s a historical novel based on real events and it’s about books.

The novel tells the story of the first published book- the Bible, printed by the famous Gutenberg and his apprentice, Peter Schoffer. Peter is the protagonist: a talented scribe wrenched from his life in Paris by his father to work with the eccentric Gutenberg in a small, troubled city in Germany. Peter’s life changes dramatically as he struggles with the emotional tightrope he’s walking between boss and father and strives to do what he sees as God’s work. Oh, and did I mention that the city is also in a fight with the local archbishop? It’s complicated.

In places, it’s a hard read. There’s lots of biblical references, obviously, which can be a bit hard going; there’s also quite a few characters and I sometimes found it difficult to keep track. I’m not sure I can say I enjoyed the book, but it was interesting reading about the printing process and its evolution (maybe I’d have enjoyed it more if it’d been a non-fiction book?)

Overall- interesting, but maybe too much information and not enough storytelling for my liking.

 

*Sent for review

 

Makeup Revolution Awesome Eyeliner Felt and Kohl

The one piece of makeup that’s always been a staple in my repertoire and I’m a big fan of the felt tipped variety in particular; it’s easy to use when I’m applying my makeup at 6.30am. Makeup Revolution have been massively hyped recently- two of my favourite beauty writers (Jane at British Beauty Blogger and Sali Hughes at the Guardian) have both been impressed with the range. I ended up buying two things- the Gwen Stefani inspired What You Waiting For? eyeshadow pallette and the Awesome Eyeliner Felt and Kohl.

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Although on the cheaper end of the price scale at £3.50, I’m seriously impressed. I’ve been wearing the felt eyeliner for most days since I bought it at the start of August and it’s long-lasting both on my eyelids and in terms of usage- it shows no signs of running out just yet. Also, unlike some more expensive felt eyeliners (*cough* Bourjois *cough*), it’s not scratchy when applying. The line is sharp and precise and it’s easy to apply.

I find kohl a bit too heavy for everyday wear on the top eyelid (and I’m married with a substantial mortgage these days- I rarely go out to places that require a ‘smoky eye’ or ‘day to night’ makeup.) Instead, I’ve been lightly sweeping it below my lower lashes- and then promptly forgetting about it and rubbing it off. Thankfully, it’s easy to apply! However, if you are into dramatic eyes, you could have a lot of fun with this.

This is definitely a repurchase item.I love how handy it is, how easy to apply and its all round usefulness. Fantastic.

Zombies, Run! 5K: Week 5

Image: New Scientist

Image: New Scientist

Week 5 has been BRUTAL. More running, obviously, but I’m finding the intensity has increased too. (Yesterday, I started Week 6 and had to stop halfway through). However, I am seeing the effects in everyday life, so it’s worth it.

I’ve been on the hunt for a sports bra and my mind has been boggled by so called ‘sexy’ sports bras. WHY would someone need a padded sports bra? WHO would buy it? If you want to recreate that Eric Prydz video (or Nicki Minaj’s latest), you’re kind of doing exercise wrong….

My running song this week has been Black Widow by Iggy Azalea ft. Rita Ora. The angry lyrics and menacing beat make me want to just pound the pavement with my feet. But not so hard that I do myself damage.

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Just putting it out there…

I’ve agreed to help out a friend who’s starting up a new business by proofing her website and writing the press release. I enjoy this sort of work and thought I’d put it out there: I’m looking for new avenues to expand my writing and to use my skills. If you think I could help you with copy writing, proofreading or other writing related work, please get in touch to discuss. I’m also happy to discuss the possibility of sponsored posts on the blog.

 

It’d be nice to get back into the (paid) writing game, especially as I have a son with a fierce Thomas the Tank Engine addiction. You can see previous examples of work here and how to work with me here.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m house-proud or deluded. Probably both.

The new house is a roaring success; D has been giving cute (if repetitive) tours, Bronte has a catflap and very little in the way of feline competition, Benn has the neutral decor (Fifty Shades of Beige) he’s always dreamed of and I have a room I can hide in when my Location, Location, Location rage hits peak boiling point (I’m actually in there now, scheduling this.)

Anyway. The house is lovely and we’re settling in well. We’re settling in so well, in fact, that I’ve done something a bit daft. Not only have I planned to host a children’s party the day before Halloween for D’s birthday, but I’ve also repeatedly said that we’re even doing Christmas this year. No, I haven’t been transformed by the fairy godmother of social activities. I actually WANT to see people on a regular basis. We’ve had visitors on most of the days we’ve not been at work- and I’ve liked it.

Image: Telegraph

The face sensible me pulled when I realised I’d declared we’d ‘do’ socialising. Image: Telegraph

I’d always planned that D would have his birthday party here, as we have much more room now. Also, I realised that over the summer holidays, he’d spent most of his time with adults. As I don’t want him to grow up to be totally weird, I’m orchestrating as many playdates (ugh) as I can for him. Plus I’ll have an excuse to eat as many party sausage rolls as I want.

The fact that I’ve planned major social events AND been actively inviting people into my house is a major turnaround for me. I like keeping my house pretty separate from everything else, but this house is so warm and welcoming, it makes sense to use its space to see friends. However, I’m sure that this too will pass and before long I’m realising I’m a) actually terribly anti-social; b) skint; c) I’m a terrible hostess once we’ve established you like tea and are in awe of the fact I have a whole tea cupboard.

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Also- when do I start making Christmas cake?!