Friday Round-Up: Bits and Bobs

This week hasn’t been out of the ordinary, and I don’t have any enlightened thinking like my post last week on Finding the much sought after work/life balance. So here’s a few bits and pieces from this week!

Cheat meal Extreme – Grilled chicken, pulled pork and smoked cheese in a brioche bun – called the Cluck Oink Burger from Oakleys in Skipton.

Cluck Oink Burger_2 Cluck Oink Burger_1

Another very sweaty Zumba session – and because the instructor is recovering from a cold, I led half of the routines #Proud !!!

Zumba Selfie_1 Zumba Selfie_2

Last Sunday’s tea looks sinful but is actually saintly! “Vegetable” pasta bake with courgette, asparagus, broccoli tips, broad beans and soy beans with fresh pesto and some smoked cheddar, topped with 2 slices of parma ham.

Vegetable Bake_1 Vegetable Bake_2

I ran a 10k on Sunday and then a 5k on Wednesday, and even though I’m no where near my time from last year’s Salford 10k, at least I’m feeling fitter than I was before Manchester earlier this year!

I’m very grateful to live in  my little part of the world, for many reasons, but they include the beautiful routes that I get to run around. This week I ran through Skipton Woods and along Skipton Castle walls. My pictures REALLY don’t do the views justice!

Skipton woods and castle_1 Skipton woods and castle_2 Skipton woods and castle_3

Homemade Turkey Burgers, y’all!
I forgot the courgette so these were straight up turkey breast mince with sesame seeds, fresh red chili and fresh thyme. I served them with sauteed vegetables (carrot, red pepper, asparagus and broccoli tips) and new potatoes.

vegetables_1 vegetables_2 Turkey Burgers_1 Turkey Burgers_2

This weekend is a bank holiday in the UK which means no work on Monday, whoop whoop! So, I’m taking advantage and will do a 10k on Sunday morning and then lots of active fun with the toddler!

Happy weekend folks! xoxo

Recipe: “Southern Baked Chicken”

In the UK Southern Fried Chicken isn’t as ‘big’ as in the UK, but I do love a KFC every now and again. Something about the spicy, crunchy coating and the tender chicken (I’m a boneless gal, 100%) with a little bit of heat is right up my alley!

But, this is a health blog, so no, I’m not suggesting we all go out and get a bucket to share. Instead, this week I created homemade ‘Southern Baked Chicken’ which had both crunchy spicy coating and tender chicken, without all the fat, additives and salt!

Southern Fried Chicken_3Southern Fried Chicken_4

Ingredients (Serves 2)

2 x chicken breasts
1 x Handful of tortilla crisps/nacho chips (crushed)
1 x Heaped tablespoon of sesame seeds
1 x Teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 x Teaspoon of chilli flakes

Method

  1. Tenderise the chicken breasts so they are about 1 to 1.5 centimeters thick (I have a mallet but you can use a rolling pin or even the back of a spoon)
  2. On a plate or flat surface, combine the chips, sesame seeds and spicesSouthern Fried Chicken_1 20160823_190256
  3. Lay a chicken breast in the coating mixture and press firmly, then repeat on the other side
  4. Repeat the above for the second chicken breast
  5. Place the chicken breasts onto a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.
    Southern Fried Chicken_2
  6. Check after 15 minutes to make sure nothing’s burning. If things are looking too dark, turn the oven down. If the coating doesn’t look at all crispy, turn the temperature up!
  7. Make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly before serving!

I served mine with some veggies – roasted corn, mangetout, asparagus and some homemade potato wedges! And they made delicious leftovers the next day!

Southern Fried Chicken_5

If you make this let me know in the comments!
xoxo

Finding the Work/Life Balance

These last few weeks have been really tough for creating a good balance between work life and home life. It feels like a constant struggle not to let the negativity at work (bad atmosphere, uncertain future yada yada) affect the precious time I have at home with my family.

So, what are my tips for creating a good work/life balance? Read on…

Find a job you enjoy doing

Love your job

This is easier said than done, especially in the current job market. It can seem like you’re lucky to have a job, and should stick with it even if you don’t like the company, your boss, your co-workers, the work itself etc.

But, I would encourage anyone who is able to, to make a career move when you are unhappy in your workplace. It might take time, you might have to spend some free time looking for new opportunities, network with potential new employers, maybe you want to retrain and that might mean a pay-cut? Sometimes, you have to take the leap!

Of course, if you’re stuck in a job you don’t like, here’s my more practical tips for finding balance.

Make your lunch hour your own

lunch hour
In the UK, a lot of workers have a 9-5 contract or similar, but they aren’t paid for an hour in the middle of the day a.k.a lunchtime. It can be easy to grab a quick lunch and eat at your desk, or work right through, but it is important to take that break.

You could read a book or magazine, window shop, get some exercise or catch-up with friends and family members.

When I was working in an office with changing facilities, I used to go for a 20 minute jog which meant I could still change and eat lunch within the hour. This helped to take my mind off work and also meant I didn’t have to feel guilty about spending time exercising when I got home and really just want to play with the toddler!

Leave on Time

5pm

If you don’t like your job, but you work hard during your contracted hours, leave on time. Don’t stay late as most studies show that it doesn’t make you more productive and your manager probably doesn’t notice the extra time you spend at work. Why spend more time than you have to somewhere you don’t like? Go on, log off, shut down, leave!

The De-Stress Commute

car singing

I’ve been making conscious decisions to leave the bad vibes in the car on the drive home, by playing my favourite music and just rocking out! Ignore the funny looks from other drivers, blast the music and sing your heart out! It’s amazing what a good 1-woman karaoke session can do for your stress levels!

Other options might be listening to podcasts, reading  a book, talk to friends and family (hands free if you’re driving!) or if you’re walking why not use a route that takes you through a park or somewhere with a nice view.

Get Outside

feed the ducks

Most people spend the majority of the day indoors, sitting at a desk or standing all day in a store. During the warmer months especially, you can start to feel resentful that you’re spending the majority of your time inside, and we all know we need the Vitamin Ds from the sun to be happy and healthy!

So, after you’ve finished work, get outside! It might be as simple as going for a walk, spend time in your garden, go feed the ducks, visit the park or my personal favourite,  sit in a beer garden! If you’re planning on exercising,  choose an outdoor workout. Running, cycling, yoga and HIIT/bodyweight exercises can all be done outside.

Be in the moment with your family

family

When you get home, make a conscious effort to be in the moment with your family. Ask them how their day was, talk about your upcoming plans, be active together or just watch a movie together! Don’t let your bad thoughts about work affect the precious time you have with your loved ones.

Make after-work or weekend plans

after work

Just thinking about something fun you have planned can help to minimise the impact of a job you don’t like. Fill up your free time with exciting plans so that by the time Sunday night comes around, you’re not thinking about the impending Monday and the week ahead, but instead you’re reflecting on all of the awesome things you’ve done! You’ll also have something to talk about with your colleagues rather than office gossip!

Which leads me to my last tip…

Be Switzerland

Be Switzerland

It can be very tempting to join in on office gossip and politics, but from my own experience, this only ever has a negative impact.

If you’re listening to others express their negative experiences, it can start to feel like it has happened to you as well. If you want to offer an objective ear to your colleagues, make sure you rationalise that their opinions don’t have to be your own (unless of course, you totally agree with them).

If you’re unhappy, think carefully who you share this with at work, and if you want to share at all. It can be cathartic to have a good bitch sometimes, but what you thought was a throwaway comment or just an in-the-moment stress can become someone else’s conversation, and the issue can become bigger than it really is.

If you’re having real problems at work, experiencing bullying or harrassment, talk to your manager, or go above them. Talk to your union or trade body if you have one. Don’t let serious things go unheard, as it can lead to stress which isn’t good for anyone!

What are your tips for creating a good work/life balance?
xoxo

*All the images I used in this post were taken from Google searches, I don’t own any of the image rights.

Friday Round Up – Fighting Stress Eating

This week has just felt rubbish! A negative work environment is really affecting my mood, and whilst I’m in the process of looking for new jobs, my stress levels are creeping up.

Normally, this would lead to some serious cases of binge eating and using food to make me feel better. Not this week though! When I’ve felt myself about to spiral out of control, I’ve taken a step back, thought about why I’m about to eat the entire contents of my fridge, and made better decisions.

On Tuesday I’d had a particularly bad day, and the moment I got home I was in the kitchen, looking through the cupboards to find something, anything, to eat. I wasn’t particularly hungry, but I felt that desire to just eat until I didn’t feel sad about work anymore.

As I opened one door, I thought to myself, will I feel better if I eat a jar of fluff and peanut butter? Or will I be sacrificing my clean eating during the week to feel a moment of relief, and then guilt once the binge was over?

I left the kitchen, took a few deep breaths and focused all of my energy on the toddler, who is a far better distraction from work stress than chocolate!

I’ll be sharing my tips for a better work/life balance on Sunday!

For the most part this week, I have been eating clean, and have really packed in the veggies! I’ve also gotten back into the swing of things in terms of exercise.

Apple and Almonds
Apple slices and almonds – my new go to snack at my desk
veg stir fry
The makings of a delicious vegetable stir-fry with rice noodles earlier this week
10k Run
Getting back to my sub-1 hour 10k with a race in 2.5 weeks!

20160817_201042

Chicken goodness bowl
Chicken goodness bowl – baked chicken with chipotle jam, peppers, carrots, peas, broccoli and wholewheat cous cous
Zumba
Very sweaty after Zumba!
Breakfast Bowl
Breakfast Bowl – strawberries and melon, The Collective passion fruit and Fuel10k protein granola
Garden
Working on our yard – we only have a small outside space but I’m trying to make it a sanctuary!

And that’s it! make sure you check out my post on Sunday about life balance, especially if you’re not loving your job at the moment!

Happy Friday! xoxo

Blogs to Follow

Sometimes when you’re trying to find the motivation to put on your trainers rather than your slippers after a day at work, or to open some rice cakes instead of sweets, it can take some outside influence to keep you on track.

For me, I like to follow some health and fitness blogs who represent ‘real’ people all fighting the same battle (to live a healthy but FUN life)!

I’ve listed some of my favourite health blogs and online resources below, and please share your favourites in the comments section! You can click on the name of the blog to visit them directly!

Carrots ‘N’ Cake – Tina shares her health and fitness lifestyle with her readers, as well as some fun series such as “What I’m Loving Lately” and “High Low High”.  Workouts, Recipes, Lifestyle

Sarah Fit – Sarah is a certified personal trainer & fitness enthusiast based in Boston and her blog features lots of great workouts & recipes. She’s just had a baby so the blog also includes lots of maternity workouts and post-partum tips. Sarah regularly creates videos too.

Preppy Runner – Theodora started her blog as a way to stay accountable when trying to lose weight (sounds familiar!) and lost 50 pounds! She also works as the social media manager for Daily Burn. I love Theo’s blog as we share a love of wine/cocktails and she’s very honest in how hard she finds it to lose weight and maintain it!

Lazy Girl Running – this is a relatively new discovery for me, but I like the way Laura (who is also a running coach) tells her story as a teen / 20 something who didn’t exercise much to an ultra-marathon running badass! As well as being a personal trainer/running coach, Laura also writes a column for Men’s Running magazine and has written two books! #CRUSH

FitSugar – Part of the Pop Sugar group, Fit Sugar can almost be too much, they publish so many articles/videos etc. Some of them go copletely over my head, or just aren’t relative to me, but others are great, like the recent 30 minute cardio boxing and core video!

Inspiralized – Ali Maffucci is a true 21st century entrepreneur. She discovered the spiralizer in 2013 and hasn’t looked back, quitting her full time job, losing 25lb and writing 2 cookery books along the way! I love her Instagram accounts. @alissandrab is her personal account and @INSPIRALIZED is the blog account, and there’s @getinspiralized which Ali uses to record her workouts.

The Body Coach – Joe Wicks seems to be EVERYWHERE at the moment and his Instagram account contains some motivational before and afters, is home to the #LeanIn15 recipe videos, and he often doesn’t have a t0shirt on. What’s not to love, wink wink.

So, these are my favourite health and fitness blogs at the moment, remember to share yours in the comments!
xoxo

Olympics – My Favourite Moments so Far!

Week 1 of the Olympics is coming to a close this weekend, so I thought I’d round up some of my favourite moments! Now even though I’m british and we’re doing stonkingly well so far, I will be impartial so you’ll several nationalisites in this round-up!

Swimming

Canadian swimmer Santo Conorelli gives his Dad the finger before each race. What a pair of legends!

Santo Condorelli
(Photo taken from news.com.au)

Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui is one of the most adorbale characters from the Olympics so far. She’s enthusiastic, a little bit nerdy and looks like she’s having a ball! She even had to be told by a Chinese news reporter that she’s won the bronze medal!

Check out her Twitter Moment for some of the best GIFS.

 

Gymnastics

Team USA Gymnasts Aly Raisman & Simone Biles competing in the team all-round final and the individual all-round final (she’ll compete in the 4 individual events next week).

Both of these ladies are simple INCREDIBLE! I loved Raisman’s beam routine and both of their floor routines. In the words of Bring It On, they “stick it”!

Max Whitlock achieving bronze in the men’s individual all-round competition was also a highlight!

Synchronised Diving

I missed the women’s events because I was watching the gymnastics, but the 10m and 3m men’s events were incredible! The emotion from both team GB pairs was great to see. Chris Mears & Jack Laugher on 3m winning Gold and Tom Daley & Dan Goodfellow on 10m winning Bronze.

The Chinese pair in the 10m event were unsurpassed and my favouriote name from the Olympics so far came from the Team USA pair – Steele Johnson!

Let’s not even mention the green pool!

Track & Field

I haven’t seen much of the track and field action so far, but there are two standouts, both coming from the 10,000 metre races.

In the men’s race, Mo Farah had a nasty tumble and then proceeded to get up, finish and WIN the race! Such incredible sportsmanship and his post-race interview for the BBC showed just how much emotion these athletes put into their sport.

I love Mo, and if you can access BBC iPlayer I would definitely recommend watching the “Mo Farah: Race of His Life” documentary. Watch it here.

Ethiopioan running superstar Almaz Ayana breaking the World Record in the women’s 10,000 metre race was amazing to watch as she flew around the track! She finished the race in 29:17.45 which is my average 5k pace! I cannot even fathom how it would feel to keep up that pace for over 6 miles!

That’s my round-up so far! The time difference has meant I don’t get to watch as much of the Games as I would like, but the BBC coverage has been excellent, especially with the red button.

I’ll do another post once the Olympics have finished with the rest of my favourite moments. Please share in the comments section what your favourite moment has been and why!
xoxo

Friday Round-Up – Wish I was in Rio!

It seems fairly ironic but in the midst of the exciting and inspirational #Rio2016 Olympics, on Wednesday it was also #NationalLazyDay and I’ve taken that theme to the extreme this week, with just 1 workout, womp womp.

But, I have been taking photos of all the food, so here we go…

Pizza Bianca
Homemade Pizza Bianca (roule base, sliced courgette, parma ham and chilli flakes)

 

Pulled Pork
Pulled pork with Applewood cheddar, cucumber and some fries

 

Tuna Salad
Tuna salad with boiled eggs and cranberry/walnut bread

 

 

Italian Salad

Italian Salad
Italian salad – salami milano, pesto and mozzarella with a pea and bean mix

 

Friday Wine
A relaxing glass of wine after work last Friday
Corona
A cool Corona on Wednesday night
clos saint jacques gewurztraminer
A beautiful Clos Saint Jacques Gewurztraminer

 

Fluff, peanut butter and caramel sauce
Fluff, crunchy peanut butter and a drizzle of caramel sauce – my go to desert when I fancy something sweet after dinner.

 

The Collective with Fuel 10k
I tried a new flavour of The Collective this week – the Scottish Raspberry flavour! Served here with the chocolate protein granola from Fuel 10k.

 

This weekend I’ll be bringing you some of my favourite moments of the Rio 2016 Olympics so far!
Happy weekend xoxo