Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Protein powder fail, green monster win!

So, don't judge me, but up until last weekend I'd never tried making my own smoothies :O! I've always been a "rather eat my calories than drink them" kinda girl, but after a tough spinning sesh at the gym a cold smoothie was just what I was craving. So armed with my cheapo blender and a stash of frozen bananas I set about making a delicious-looking fruity protein-filled smoothie...

This smoothie involved a scoop of vanilla protein powder, some skimmed milk, couple of ice cubes, a frozen banana, handful of frozen summer berries and a tbsp of ground flax. I topped it with some Bear granola and fresh bluebs (swoon!). My verdict on this smoothie? Horrible, disgusting, just plain wrong... I did not like it AT ALL and had to give up half way through :( Such a tragic waste of my beloved bluebs! I knew exactly who the disgusting culprit was here: the protein powder. It gave the smoothie such a strange synthetic taste that was in no way enjoyable and left my stomach feeling dodgy for hours afterwards... definitely a protein fail.

The good news is that the following day I returned from my usual Sunday long run and decided to try again, except this time I stuck with the standard "green monster" style smoothie recipe. I'd never tried making one of these and was certain the addition of spinach was going to lead to the same failure as the protein powder... how wrong could I have been?! I enjoyed my GM so much that I actually forgot to take a photo, it was LUSH! I used a couple of handfuls of spinach, a few ice cubes, splash of skimmed milk, a frozen banana, tbsp of flax and topped it with a sprinkle of dried fruit+seed mix... I'm not one for being over-dramatic but this was heaven in a bowl! I couldn't taste the spinach (although I love spinach anyway) and it actually left me feeling energised for hours afterwards - quite a difference from the dodgy protein smoothie of the previous day. Definitely a GM win!

So, the moral of the story? Protein powders might be all well and good for some people but, for me at least, I've yet to find one I actually like the taste of (I've tried maybe 2 or 3 brands so far). My all-natural GM smoothie might be lacking in the protein department, but atleast it tasted good! My protein powder stash has once again been resigned to the back of the cupboard and I'm going to stick with natural sources until I can find a protein powder that tastes nothing like protein powder! I'm looking forward to my next GM already...


There are a couple of great giveaways going on in blogland at the moment and if you like Nakd bars you NEED to check out these blogs.
I'm generally a huge fan of free stuff (who isn't?) but even more so when it involves my favourite healthy bars and snacks. I don't normally have the chance to try many food-stuffs that can't be bought in standard supermarkets, simply because I don't have the time to make special trips to healthfood stores and I'm not organised enough to hunt them down online, so I really appreciate the generous giveaways of other bloggers where I can *hopefully* have the chance to try some fab new products. I'm sure most of you are already aware of these, but here is a couple of the UK-based giveaways going on at the moment:

Freya @ britchickruns is hosting a Nakd bar giveaway, giving you the chance to try some of the brand new Nakd flavours. I have yet to try these delicious specimens, although I'm a massive fan of the other Nakd flavours (I'm looking at you, Apple Pie!) Head over to Freya's blog to enter :)

Jemma @ celeryandcupcakes is hosting a similar giveaway where readers have the chance to win a stash of 18 Nakd bars, enough to keep me in supply for, oh, a week! Check out Jemma's post for a chance to enter, but be warned I will be highly jealous if you win ;)


Have you ever suffered a protein fail?! Gotta admit, I was a little gutted that my first protein smoothie was disgusting as they seem quite popular here in blogland!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Time flies...

...when you're working, running, eating, sleeping! I guess I've never really realised how busy and non-stop my weekdays are, it's been over a week since my last blog post! I suppose what with working 9-6 every day, going to the gym for 1-2hours most days, spending the rest of my time cooking from scratch and spending quality time with my boyfriend... I just don't have much 'free' time to blog during the week. I have so much admiration for bloggers who manage to post every day (or multiple times a day) but sadly I don't have those kind of time management skills! That's ok though, I'm still going to stick with this thing and continue to write about my healthy living journey, it just might be on a more relaxed weekly basis rather than daily :)

In my last post I mentioned I was going to try photographing my food for a day or two but I admit this wasn't very successful... I'm just too forgetful! I managed to get a few pics of my breakfasts/lunches, but don't think I managed even one of my dinners. So here's a random look at (some) of the tasty food I've been enjoying this past week...

Breakfast oats with cinnamon and peaches, topped with greek yog, blueberries and peach jam

Pre-run breakfast of a spelt pancake (from freezer) topped with berry jam and a plum

Another pre-run brekkie of half a banana with PB and an oatcake with peach jam

Although breakfast is most definitely my favourite meal of the day, I've also been quite creative with my lunches this week:

Egg white + spelt wrap with hummous, turkey and leftover roast veg (thanks to Laura at Keeping Slim and Getting Stylish for the wrap recipe, i love it!)

Salad of mixed chop veg, chicken breast pieces and hummous

Spinach/egg white scramble and turkey on top of a wholemeal english muffin, carrot fries + ketchup on the side (useless information alert: I LOVE black pepper and grind way too much onto just about everything savoury that I eat... you can really tell from this photo, oops!)

All-in-all it's been a great week of tasty food and I've loved trying out new ingredients and recipes that I've discovered through blog-reading. I've been to Tesco this afternoon and stocked up the fridge so hopefully this coming week will be more of the same. Apologies to those of you who find food photos boring, but personally it's my favourite part of the blogs I read!

Exercise-wise, last Monday I went to my first yoga class which I really enjoyed. I normally do my long outdoor run on a Sunday morning, so it's lovely to have some designated time the following day to stretch out my muscles. It's definitely not a technical or hugely serious kind of yoga class, but it's enough for me for now. The rest of my gym sessions this week have been the usual mixture of cardio on the treadmill/crosstrainer/bike, spinning class, and my own made-up upper body + core routines... variety is the name of the game! I started off another good week with a 10.5 mile outdoor run in horribly windy conditions earlier this morning and I'm already looking forwarding to my second yoga class tomorrow night for a good ol' stretch.

Well, time to go prepare dinner and enjoy the last few hours of the weekend... why does Monday always come around WAY too quickly?! If you're reading this then thanks for sticking with me through this rather random post and I hope you've had a lovely weekend :)

So, what's your favourite meal-time? Mine is definitely breakfast. I love waking up hungry and spending my snooze-alarm time in bed pondering what I fancy having... lately it's been oats, oats and more oats!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Twenty Eleven

Hello new readers (if indeed there are any!) and a happy new year! It appears my little blog didn’t quite get off to the regular start that I hoped it would, but I’ll blame the busyness of NYE celebrations, travelling and returning to work for that. However, now the Christmas decorations are down and the holidays seem like a distant memory I’ll hopefully be able to settle back into my daily routine and start posting here more often.


So, a new year, a new blog and a new start? Well, two out of three isn’t bad! I don’t really feel like I need a new start as such, over the past few months I’ve gradually developed a food/exercise routine that I’m happy with and my hope for 2011 is to just continue this. I want to...

- Continue to eat healthy and wholesome foods, mostly veg, fruit, grains, pulses, beans etc and some dairy but also including lean meat and fish as and when I chose. Basically, I want to maintain an exciting and varied diet...I love food and I love cooking!

- Continue to exercise 6 days a week – I enjoy exercise and actually become quite restless and moody when I don’t get my daily fix. On the flip-side of that I know how important it is to have a rest day and need to work on really enjoying my days off rather than feeling frustrated/guilty that I’m not working out.

- Continue to spend more quality time with the boy – This is an important one for me, I really want to work on time management so that I can fit more into my days, especially time with my boyfriend.

So those are already things I’m quite good at, but I’ve also got a wee list of new goals that I’d like to achieve this year:

1. Run 2 x half marathons (I ran one in 2010)

2. Run as many local 10K and 5K races as I can

3. Become stronger by emphasising the strength training aspect as part of my workout routine

4. Read books! I want to start using my local library and get back into reading again

5. Travel somewhere exciting – I love travelling but need to stop using money, time etc as an excuse and just book some trips (USA, here I come!)

I know the blogworld is awash with resolutions, goals and aims for the New Year, so there’s my 2 cents. Nothing too concrete or defined, just a list of stuff I’d quite like to do... simple!


Well, it’s finally Friday and I’m looking forward to a weekend of watching movies, pottering around the house, spinning class, shopping, cooking and hopefully fitting in a long outdoor run on Sunday... my idea of a perfect weekend! I think I might also experiment with taking photos of all my eats to see if I find it helpful and beneficial for keeping me ‘on track’. Results, if successful, will of course be posted here.

Have a good weekend :)

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

An Introduction...

Hello and welcome to my little blogspace! I'm not really sure where to start with this, my first ever blog post, but I figured a little introduction might be helpful. I've been reading healthy living blogs online for many months now and have often thought about keeping one myself. I'm not a natural writer and I'm not particularly good with words, but I AM passionate about healthy living, food and fitness, and it's my interest in these topics which have led me to start this blog. I really enjoy reading other healthy living blogs, especially UK-based ones, and take so much inspiration from all you wonderful bloggers who post about your delicious eats and motivating exercise schedules. I suppose that's what I hope this blog will be eventually, although I guess we'll have to see if I'm any good at this blogging lark first :P

I'm pretty much your average 25yr old girl (I hope that doesn't make me sound boring!) I love shopping, baking and relaxing at home with my boyfriend and two gorgeous indoor bunny rabbits - I'm sure they'll feature on here sooner or later! I work full time in online marketing and really enjoy my job.

I would say my main passion in life is definitely healthy living, this is something which I've discovered over the past year and something which has impacted my life in a really positive way. If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I LOVE my food! It's just the way I was brought up and is something that will never change (nor do I want it to, truthfully). I don't follow a special diet, I just try to eat lots of good, wholesome and natural food. If I'm organised enough I hope to be able to share this through my blog.

Exercise-wise, throughout my school and university years I didn't give a second thought to what I ate or how I moved my body and, as a result, I ended up carrying 2 or 3 stones worth of extra weight. I joined the gym whilst at university and made a few half-hearted attempts to 'get fit' but I don't think I ever had the true motivation to really make it count. I'm not exactly sure when I discovered running, sometime after leaving university I think, but it definitely sparked something in me. I've been running regularly for over a year now and to date have run 1 half marathon, 4 x 10Ks and several 5Ks. Through running, gymming and eating wholesome foods I have found myself lose the extra weight and feel great about myself, as cheesy at that sounds! Although I don't weigh myself regularly and I definitely do not count calories, a recent routine trip to the doctor found me with a healthy BMI of 22. Sure, I have lumps and bumps and extra padding that I'd like to lose, but really I'm all about maintaining my weight and happiness just as they are.

What I should say though, is that healthy living isn't something which comes naturally to me, it's something I've had to work at. I suppose this is my disclaimer, I'm not perfect and I do struggle. Probably quite a lot. I don't have any friends who share my passion for healthy eating/exercise and I'm sure my boyfriend is sick of hearing about it, so that's where you guys come in. I'd love to be able to share my experiences, good and bad, with other like-minded people. I can guarantee that this blog will have it's fair share of moaning, complaining and struggling... but I guess that's all part of life.

So that's me... a pretty average girl who, after discovering healthy living blogs, running, and how awesome daily exercise can make me feel, is now happily living at a healthy weight. I hope you'll stick around as I begin to document my experiences, thoughts and feelings.

- Bronagh x