Run, Pretty Averagely Sized Girl, Run

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I’ve just started running.  

I KNOW, I KNOW.  (People who know me will know that I’ve always detested running.  The beep tests they made us to in PE were torture.  They also made us run around a huge block at the beginning of each term, and as soon as I was out of Miss O’Driscoll’s sight, I’d stop and leisurely stroll around.  Because I hate running) 

In year 11, my friend Sarah F and I used to bunk PE, so we didn’t have to do any running.  Sorry, not sorry.  I hate running. 

It makes me feel like I am dying.  And I loathe that.

It hurts my knees.  That is never a good thing. 

It makes me sweat.  Yuck. 

It’s boring.  Dull, dull, dull.  

But about a month ago, I decided that I would start going to the gym again.  And I’ve been really good at actually going.  I’ve been going three times a week and I have a little routine: treadmill, bike or rowing machine, a weight machine or two, home.  The plan was that the whole thing would take at the most 45 minutes, and I’d be home in time for a nice hot shower and a cup of coffee before having to pick up Elliot from preschool.  I figured I’d get the treadmill out of the way first, because I hate running, you see.  HATE.  IT. 

Except that I’ve found myself really quite enjoying it.  Almost loving it, in fact.  I stick my headphones on, whack up the volume, and run to nowhere.  (I prefer running to nowhere on a treadmill than running outside, as the treadmill absorbs a lot of the impact, and my knees and shins don’t hurt). 

And it’s my running playlist that has really helped me learn to enjoy running.  It’s what has really spurred me on.  The first couple of times I went I didn’t take my headphones, and so had no choice but to listen to people panting away next to me.  Or groups of muscly beefcakes cheer each other on, or the music they play at the gym, which is less than inspiring. 

But making myself a fun playlist and setting it to shuffle has been brilliant.  I don’t get bored, because I don’t know what’s coming next.  It could be “We Are The People” by Empire of the Sun:

Or it could be “Shake It” by Metro Station,

Or it could be “Brazil (Second Edit)”, by Deadmau5 (A personal favourite)

And I end up pushing myself a little further by running the length of a song, then another will come on and I’ll think, ‘OH I LOVE THIS SONG! I’ll just run to that and then I’ll stop”, and then the same thing will happen again.  I have a pretty eclectic taste in music; generally if something has a good beat, is nice and upbeat, and/or nice lyrics, I’ll like it.  My running playlist is full of songs that make me smile. 

Two weeks ago, I could barely run for fifteen minutes before beginning to worry that my legs would fail and I’d fall off the back of a treadmill going at 8kms an hour.  But last night I ran consistently for just shy of 40 minutes, at 8.8km/h and I clocked up over 5kms.  I am pretty proud of myself, and it’s safe to say I no longer hate running. 

I totally deserve the curry and beer I’m indulging in tonight.  Bring on more runs next week! 

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Friday Night Dinners – Lemon and Pepper Roast Chicken

It’s Friday, people, what are you having for dinner? 

This week’s video isn’t something difficult at all, and it’s not an expensive addition to your weekly shopping list.  It is simply cutting a lemon in half and shoving it up a chicken, and then grinding a lot of salt and pepper over it.

If you haven’t given this a go before, then why not try it the next time you get your roast on?  You don’t get a full on lemon flavour by any means, but it keeps the chicken really succulent and helps stop it drying out.  When the chook is cooked, there will be lots of lemony juices to add extra flavour to the gravy.

The seasoning on the skin helps it to crisp up.  Even if the idea of a lemony chicken doesn’t appeal, please don’t skip the seasoning – it really makes the skin worth eating.  And anything that helps it to crisp up is good in my book – is there anything more disgusting than flabby chicken skin?

Make the gravy in the exact same way you would without the lemon, make a roux by adding a little flour to the chicken juices, and all those delicious crispy bits on the pan, then add a little wine, and stock or water until you get a consistency you’re happy with.  

If, like me, you make your own chicken stock, don’t discard the lemon.  Instead, put it in the pot with the carcass and a bay leaf and you’ll be left with a lovely tangy stock. 

We ate our lemon and pepper roast chicken with boulangère potatoes, julienne carrots and broccoli, and it was delicious.

Friday Night Dinners: Apple Crumble

friday night dinners

The other week I started thinking about my fledgling YouTube Channel.  It’s no secret that I’m not entirely comfortable in front of the camera.  But I wanted to make a series of videos that focussed on cooking tips to take a dish up a level and turn it into something really special, rather than cramming an entire recipe into five minutes, and risk it feeling rushed. 

And so Friday Night Dinners was born (and filmed), and this is the pilot. 

I’ve gone with something really simple and autumnal: Apple and blackberry crumble.  Who doesn’t like a nice comforting bowl of apple crumble as the nights draw in?  Well, I think the secret to an amazing crumble isn’t in the filling, but in the crumble topping.

I hope you enjoy this video. 

Thanks to my in house videographer/husband type bloke for filming and editing.  I paid him in crumble. 


Driving in Europe – More to it Than Keeping to the Right

Stuff for your car

We are off to France, on a car ferry and then driving to our destination at the other end.  It’s been yonks since I went to France, and I’ve never driven on the Continent, so I read up.

It’s common knowledge that you need some extra car kit to drive legally in France, but a new law, enforced at the beginning of July, means that as well as the high viz jackets, hazard triangle and headlight deflectors, you also have to carry breathalysers.  At the moment, les gendarmes are going relatively easy on unprepared tourists, but why flout the rules?  French motorways are not free, so have some money to hand for tolls.  It goes without saying that a route map or sat nav is important as well.

Anyway, since a lot of my posts about nos vacances will be vlogs, I thought I’d start how I meant to go on.  Shot and edited by my lovely husband, enjoy!

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What I Wore Wednesday

Another video this week, and I thought I’d make one even though there is no linky this week.

You can probably tell from the video, I am feeling a little bit meh today.  It’s probably a mix of the crapola weather and the garbled emotions I have been feeling about my little lady’s impending start at infant school.  So it’s not my best, sozzles.