Today the husband and i woke early so we could get to Trago Mills before the crowds, we were awake a little earlier than we needed to be so we watched The Great London Swim - it's an open water swim in London Docklands, i personally can not understand how people swim in open, murky water! The thought of it alone makes me feel anxious!

For breakfast i had a tasty cinnamon and raisin bagel with some flora spread (we were in a rush and i forgot to take a photo! Sorry x)

We got to Trago just at opening time, perfect! There were hardly any people and this place gets busy. It is a massive department store that sells everything under one roof, we wanted to get some decorating things for the hall. We saw some lovely mirrors that we may go back and get for over our fireplace, i liked the bottom one of the 2 mirrors.

We also found some funky stripey carpet which we like for the seaside theme hallway that we are planning on. It looked a lot better than it does in the photo!

After Trago we headed into Exeter, John was running late with dinner preparations so rather than pester him whilst he was putting the roast dinner together we went for a walk around the shops. Ollie was a little hungry and decided on a McDonalds, as he needed the toilet i said that i would order for him so i could grab a latte too. He said he wanted a small hamburger, small fries and a small coke, i realised that a happy meal would work out cheaper. When hubby returned i handed him the happy meal, his face below shows how impressed he was LOL!! He was putting on this face, he thought it was really funny!  

We then went into the poster shop Athena to see if they had any vintage seaside posters, they did not have what we want but they did have some funny postcards, Ollie and I had a good giggle reading them all, i ended up buying 6 of them and will put them in a frame, i'm not sure where to put them yet though.

We got to John's and whilst the dinner was cooking we started a game of Monopoly, John decided to buy everything and soon ran out of money - he was soon remortgaging his streets, which Ol and I found quite amusing.

We then broke away from the game for dinner. John kindly cooked me 2 nut cutlets as i do not eat meat, the boys had beef. I filled up on greens and only had one roast potato - go me!!

I also had a tiny glass of red wine in the biggest glass!

Back to the intense game of Monopoly.... somehow John did a 180 and started getting lots of money, bought Park Lane and Mayfair and the rest was history for me and Ol!

I was left with little - boo hoo!

We then tried the cheesecake that i made the previous day, we all thought it was really nice! I never like my own baking so this was quite and achievement!

I forgot to mention, whilst in town i bought MORE pink running gear, i purchased a lovely pair of black and pink shorts.....

A black and pink running vest......

and finally....a bright pink running teeshirt!

I may go for a very gentle jog tomorrow as i have only just got over having the flu so i need to take it easy. It is still so cold in the UK, this evening i have opted to wear my husbands big, cuddly woollen jumper.

It's 9pm in the UK, so i am going to settle down and glance through my new Womens Running Magazine and for a bit of inspiration watch Run Fat Boy Run.

I hope you are enjoying the blog as much as i am enjoying writing it, let me know what you think? Too many/too little photos? Not enough text? All feedback is welcome, good night peeps x

Yummy falafel

As we have had quite a busy day, I decided to make hubby and myself a quick yet nutritional meal. So I made falafel wraps, they were so tasty!

I also baked some low fat feta which I had on the side- it was mega tasty.

In my wrap I had 2 falafel, mixed salad, Mayo, BBQ sauce and homemade salsa

I mixed tomato & cucumber with a little mint sauce, it worked really well in the wrap.

My husband was hard at work today in our house and has decided to decorate the hall

Here he is hard at work - bless him x We have decided that we are going to go for a vintage seaside theme... watch this space!

I also treated myself to a nice glass of red now that I am feeling a bit better

See the glass is tiny!

Tomorrow we are off to Trago Mills to look for items for the hall, we are then over to john's for dinner (I hope my cheesecake is liked that I made earlier!)

I have enjoyed my first full day blogging, I think my family who live 3 hours away will enjoy catching up on my life, so for now I will say goodnight....

Foxy sleeps on me like this every night x
So something strange happened to me this afternoon - i had the urge to clean! As i am almost over the flu, i have had a great burst of energy. I decided the kitchen was going to get it.

Before: The sink area = messy!

Before: The breakfast bar area

After: The shiny sink area!

After: The sparkling breakfast bar!

I played the best music on youtube to help me get through the crumbs and grease including;

  • The Veronicas - Untouched

  • Muse - Super Massive Black Whole

  • Thom Yorke - Hearing Damage

  • The Killers - All these things that i've done

  • Elbow - One Day Like This & finally

  • Placebo - Running up that hill
So once the kitchen was shiny looking, i decided i wanted to mess it up by making a baked cheesecake. It wasn't the healthiest recipe (can cheesecake be healthy?) but i made it for dessert tomorrow. We are going around our friend John's house for a roast dinner, so the cheesecake is for 2 strapping men - of course i will have a thin slice as it would be rude not too! :)

Ingredients included;

The base
  • Approx 15 digestive biscuits
  • 5oz melted butter
The filling
  • 4oz butter
  • 85g icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 whites, whisked until stiff and folded in.

The base = digestive biscuits and melted butter

Poor the mixture onto fridge cooled base

Level off and bake at 170 for 1 1/4 hour

I do confess to licking the whisk!

O yeah....and the bowl!

My kitchen is once again a mess!

and there is a new mound of washing up!

But it was all so worth it....check out my first baked cheesecake - it smells delicious but will not be consumed until tomorrow - the hubby wants to eat it now!
Well kitchen is back to its shiny to mess it up again, it's dinner making time in the UK!
Don't you just love Saturdays? And what better way to start the day than going for some breakfast with the husband! We live a stones throw away from Honiton High St so we ventured over to Cafe 102 (my favourite eatery in Honiton).

I didn't fancy too much so i had a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows - yummy and a toasted tea cake which i shared with the hubby.

It was a great start to the day. I then had a wander around the local shops and street market (Honiton is known for its street market and gets lots of tourists in the summer). Infact Honiton has a lot going for it, i feel very lucky to live here so i will do a separate blog on it i think.

For lunch i had left over prawn balti with the remainder of my garlic naan (i bet i smell wonderful!) I love having a take away now and again, the hubby and i love Indian food and have tried it everywhere we have travelled too but nothing compares to English/Indian food but i'm not sure why? I grew up in Birmingham which is extremely multi cultured and it is the place to visit in England if you want an amazing curry. Whenever we go visit my parents, we always get a Brummie curry :o)

This afternoon i am pretty much chilling in front of the TV (i am currently watching the original Freaky Friday) as i have been off work for a week and a half with flu and a virus, hence the delay in starting my blog (it would have been soup everyday as i only had the energy in the day to turn on the stove). I am tons better but not 100% yet so just taking it easy today.

Chilling on the sofa would not be right without a lovely cup of English tea in my favourite Bloomingdale's mug. Don't you find drinks taste better when you use a favourite mug/cup/glass? How strange!

I also had 2 chocolates from the massive chocolate box hubby gave me on Valentine's Day, i had orange and coffee covered in dark chocolate - D'licious!

Just thought i would throw this into the mix, whilst i have been off sick, this little bundle of love has not left my side, it's as if she knew i was not well and provided me with the best cuddles. I love my cat Foxy, she is the sweetest, gentlest thing.

Ok it's only 9 weeks tomorrow until my 2nd half marathon and i have hardly trained due to my recent illness, i have a lot of making up to do on my running schedule but i find i work better under pressure - i just hope my body holds up with all the running i have planned over the next 2 months!

A Review of my First Half Marathon 3rd May 2009

Exeter Half Marathon 3rd May 2009

I woke up early and played a game on my laptop in bed for half hour to calm my nerves! I was so scared of the race ahead. I changed into my running gear and tried to eat my breakfast of half bagel with peanut butter and banana, I found it hard to eat because of my nervous stomach, so ate a few jaffa caked instead.

We looked relaxed before the race but we were really nervous!

Mr O, myself, sister and brother in law (James) left for the arena at 8, James had agreed to run the race too which made me feel a lot better about the whole thing. At the Arena, I went straight to the toilet! (it was my nerves!) Whilst waiting for the race to begin I took in all the sights and atmosphere. After my 2nd toilet stop we ventured into the Arena, the race would start and finish on the actual track, we positioned ourselves where we thought we would finish (I put myself in the 2 hour + section), I kissed Mr O and he wished me good luck. James went further to the front as he is a faster runner than me, we hugged and then I was all alone (well apart from the other 3000 people running the race!) I got chatting to a lady that looked as nervous as me - she commented on how calm I was eh? We started moving forward….the race had begun. I felt sooo excited! I jogged at a comfortable pace around the track as there was so many people, you couldn’t go fast anyway, the atmosphere was amazing.

Mile 1-3

This would be the only time around this part of the route, I didn’t know the route so was not sure what to expect, I could feel the weather was quite warm at this point and there was little shade, my throat felt really dry and I felt like there was quite a lot of up hill, many people were overtaking me but I kept at my happy pace and kept telling myself that I just need to finish – not beat anyone.

I remember a guy in a pirates costume and he was collecting money for charity – this guy was fit as he kept sprinting and then collecting money, although I was running constantly he was always in front of me!!

I ran past the back of Mr O’s workplace so it was nice to know where I was and finally we reached the first water station, people were waiting so I joined them, but people kept pushing in, I grabbed a water and got moving again – the water hit the spot and my throat was no longer dry.

I started to run down a long straight road so knew I had made it onto the main part of the route (must have already completed 3 miles!!!)

Mile 3-6

I started to see more and more people cheering the crowds on, I looked to see whether I could see Mr O and my sister. I saw my friends on the other side of the road, so I waved over to them and they cheered and shouted, it really gave me a boost.

A little further up the road (mile 4) I saw some familiar faces Mr O, my sister, and Mr O’s parents, I ran up to them and said I need a drink, my throat was starting to dry up again – Mr O passed me my isotonic drink and I said hi to everyone – they said that I was doing great – I think my sister couldn’t believe how well I was doing, they told me James was about 5-10 mins in front. My sister said that I looked really good, as I left them to start up the big hill of the route my sister shouted ‘your bum looks great in your shorts!!’, this made me laugh – I was enjoying this!

The big hill between mile 4-5 was not as bad as I imagined, luckily I had done a lot of hill running on my training – at this point the runners ahead were on the other side of the road running down the hill, I kept a look out for people I knew, but did not see James. Outside the church half way up the hill there was a church rock band playing music, children were handing out jelly babies and one family had a hose that had a fine mist spray and were spraying the runners to cool us down-so thoughtful.

Mile 5-6 was through the city centre of Exeter, I was looking to see if my parents and little nieces were there but realised that their train was not due to arrive for another half hour, this was a 2 lap course so I would be running through the city centre again later.

Mile 6-10

This was a very long down hill, there was also lots of water and sponge stations and I felt really comfortable, at about mile 7 I finally saw James on the other side of the road, I shouted my support and he too gave me words of encouragement – I was so proud at how well he was doing, he was now 2 miles ahead of me. After I saw James on the other side of the road all I wanted to do was start the 2nd lap of the course, mile 7-8 went on forever!!! At mile 8 I finally U turned and started the 2nd lap of the course. Miles 8-10 are a bit blurry, the hill still did not bother me even on the 2nd time round, again I saw James, he was running down hill on the other side of the road towards mile 12 – I still had to go through the city centre for the second time!!!

Mile 10-Finish Line

My 2nd time through the city centre was not so busy but people were still supporting the runners (including a team of cute cheerleaders shouting ‘WE ARE PROUD OF YOU!’), I had seen Mr O earlier and he had told me my parents would be at the end instead of in the centre. At mile 11 I decided to walk a little and get some fuel in me, I had a lucozade tablet and some Haribo bears. I ran the whole long down hill again and was feeling great, as I knew there was just over a mile to go until the finish.

At mile 12 I felt for the first time a bit tired, just when I contemplated walking a guy I know from work shouted ‘I know that girl – come on Amy!!’ all his friends joined in too – how could I walk when I was getting such great cheers?!

I came to another corner and I was thinking where is the Arena? Just as I was thinking about walking again, I saw my 2 beautiful nieces, my parents and Mr O’s dad, I shouted to them ‘I’m ready for a cocktail now!’

Where's the cocktail?

Just around the corner there was a short steep hill, I decided to pace walk up the hill and stretch my muscles abit, I knew the race ended where it started and I would need to run one loop of the race track, I came into the Arena area – I had nearly made it. I don’t know where it came from but I had a burst of energy and ran around the track, as I came into the home straight, I saw James standing there with his medal on, shouting and cheering me on, I decided to sprint towards the finish (I felt like I was floating!)

I did it, I completed my first half marathon (2:32:22 gun time & 2:30:17 chip time)!!! My friends from work ran into the finishers enclosure and gave me a massive hug, they said I was amazing and they were so proud of me – I was proud of myself. My friend Sarah who also ran came in just before me, she came over and congratulated me and then James came running over and gave me a massive hug and kiss. I received my medal but all I wanted was my t-shirt and banana!!

As I sat down to remove my chip all my family turned up, they were so proud of my achievement, James did not stop saying how well I had done, he had done amazingly well himself.

With our finishing medals

We soon left the arena, I still felt amazing and could not believe I had actually finished the race – the amazing feeling I had was like nothing I had experienced or felt before. I enjoyed every second of the race and didn’t think once that I didn’t want to be there. I said on the way home in the car that I wanted to bottle the experience and keep it forever. Anyone who has achieved something they never thought they could achieve will know the feeling well. I think this will be the start of many races.

Things I learnt from my first half marathon experience;

1. The nerves that are experienced weeks before the race may feel awful at the time but they do not compare to the amazing feeling of the race atmosphere.

2. Keep positive – I gave myself such a hard time during my training, especially if I had to miss a run, I gave Mr O quite a bit of grief as I would take my frustrations out on him (poor Mr O), I can not count the times I told myself ‘I can not do this’!

3. Savour every second of the race experience, the cheers, the support – say thank you and smile the whole way, it certainly made me enjoy myself more.