Banana Pancakes

Good Morning!

The past few days I’ve been feeling a bit rubbish…very dopey, low energy, tired …thankfully though I’ve woken up feeling more like myself this morning feeling more energetic!

Last night James and me headed over to some local courts to play some squash.  I’ve only ever really played once before and that was on holiday 5 years ago so it’s fair to say I’m a bit out of practise ;)..it’s really enjoy it though as another form of exercise.  I think it’s easy to get stuck in a rut doing the same thing every week in the gym and this is more sociable, required hand eye co-ordination and works different muscles – winner!

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Lunch yesterday featured a nice big salad with tuna and a lemon, mustard, yogurt dressing (with a side of Barney!), after this Barney and me headed to the local park for a nice long walk, he’s  had a bad back (bless him!) and hasn’t been able to run around, but seems much better now so it was lovely for him to let off some steam and play with some other dogs.

For breakfast this morning I made some really tasty banana protein pancakes, sometime I find protein pancakes can be a little dry and powdery but these were so moist and really tasty.

Recipe:

1/2 banana

1 scoop unflavoured protein powder (I used pea today)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/5 tsp baking powder

1 egg

splash of milk

 

Directions:

  • Put a frying pan on a medium heat
  • Place all ingredients except the milk in a mixing bowl
  • Use a stick blender to blend to a thick but smooth paste (if you don’t have one of these you could mash well with a fork)
  • Slowly add enough milk to form a thick batter and mix thoroughly
  • Use a tablespoon to drop the batter into the pre-heated pan…I made 4 pancakes about 10cm in diameter but you can make them as big or small as you like!
  • Wait until little bubbles form on the surface (don’t touch!…I know it’s tempting!!) and then flip using a spatula
  • Leave for another minute and then serve!

I topped mine with a combo of peanut butter greek yogurt…what a great start to the day!

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Now I’m off to finish my dissertation proposal which has to be handed in by 5pm this afternoon and then plan to go to a step class later on.

Hope you’re having a great week!

Question: Do you like to vary up your exercise with sports and the gym or do you tend to stick to the same things each week?

L x

 

 

Pulsin Review…

A couple of weeks ago I was sent some products by the kind people at Pulsin’.

Protein is needed for growth and repair in the body, making it perfect to help muscle recovery after tough workouts.  There’s also lots of scientific studies out there linking protein to increased satiety (fullness), hunger hormone control and weight loss.

The guys at Pulsin’ produce 4 protein powders;

Whey protein highlights – 

  • 18g protein/20g serving 
  • high bioavailability therefore absorbed quickly into the blood stream and used by the muscles
  • un-denatured thanks to specialist filtering techniques used (lots of other commercial protein powders are processed at high temperatures, causing them to become denatured and therefore harder to digest and absorb in your body)
  • great for using in protein smoothies, adding to yogurt, protein ‘ice cream’ and also in homemade raw protein bars/balls
  • £31.49/kg

Soya Protein –

  • 17g protein/20g serving
  • non GM
  • high in photo-oestrogens, which can be great for anyone suffering from hormonal imbalances
  • tasty in overnight oats, protein pancakes and smoothies
  • £15.29/1kg

Pea Protein –

  • 17.1g protein/20g serving
  • made from dried and powered yellow split peas (different!!)
  • a good source of vegan protein
  • can be used as a thickener, as an alternative to cornflour and also good in porridge and soups
  • £15.29/1kg

Hemp –

  • 14.1g/30g serving
  • raw/cold pressed
  • great source of omega 3 fatty acids; for healthy hair, skin and nails
  • delicious in green smoothies
  • £15.29/1kg

All of these proteins are unflavoured and minimally processed, which makes them a great alternative to many of the highly processed, artificially sweetened and expensive protein powders available out there!

I was really surprised by just how tasteless these powders actually are.  In the past I’ve tried a few ‘unflavoured’ proteins which actually tasted horrible and usually had a very detectable texture but these were great!

I’ve been enjoying this chance to be a bit experimental …

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Chocolate, banana, green smoothie – I’ve had with both whey protein and hemp protein…both tasted great

 

 

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Banana-Berry protein ‘Ice Cream’ with added whey protein

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Overnight oats, milk soaked oats with soya protein and grated apple, topped off with greek yogurt and peanut butter (I loved this combo and it kept me full for ages!)

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Banana, cinnamon protein pancakes – made with a blend of whey and soya protein….topped off with my favourite combo…greek yogurt and peanut butter! (this mornings breakfast!)

Overall I love these proteins…I think they’re very reasonably priced, easy to use and add a great protein boost to lots of my favourite meals and snacks…great work guys :)!

The weather yesterday was just glorious!!  I started my day with a body combat class at the gym, followed by a lovely walk with the dog along the marina.  We had been invited for dinner at James parents house and seeing as it was so warm, late in the afternoon we decided to head over on his motorbike…

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…me getting kitted up!!

Great day to be out on the bike (although maybe a little cold on the way home!)

Today started early with a 7am Bodypump class, followed by protein pancakes for breakfast.  I’ve got 2 deadlines for uni this week (one today and one Wednesday) so I’m off to do some proof reading before handing in!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Question; do you use protein powders? whats your preferred protein source? and your favourite way of using it?

L x

Wicked Weekend

Did you have a good weekend?  Our’s was awesome!!

On Saturday we headed to the gym, where I jumped on the treadmill to do a warm up and got a little carried away, managing a PB (since my recovery) of 5.5miles in 45minutes, which left me feeling very satisfied especially as I felt good throughout! We headed home, looking longingly at the pizza van that parks outside our gym at weekends (why!!?!) both with rumbling tummies and quickly tucked into a huge salad of mixed leaves, tomatoes, beetroot, sauerkraut and cucumber with a can of sardines on the top and some rye bread on the side…

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It felt so good eating a big clean salad after a run, although later on I did get pretty hungry and snacked pretty much all afternoon (lesson learned!).

James’s family; Mum, Dad, 2 brothers, sister-in-laws and friends came over for afternoon tea (very civilised!!) his Mum and Dad arrived with much appreciated gifts in hand (thank you guys!!)

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a gorgeous toast rack as a housewarming gift

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and some of THE best eccles cakes from a local bakery, we all agreed none of us had ever had better!

Sunday was a pretty lazy day, involving the most amazing breakfast….

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‘overeasy’ egg, cheese and jam wholemeal muffin…I have no words!!

plus lots of washing and ironing…

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and some studying…

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This morning we opted for an early morning workout.  I am not known for my happiness or energy in the morning, and am often known to grumble no more words than “oh dear” before the hour of 8/9 o clock, so when James suggested heading to the gym for 7am I was understandably weary (!!) but when the alarm went off this morning I was feeling ok so jumped out of bed, pulled on my gym kit (which I’d put by the bed ‘just in case’) and headed out to the 7am Bodypump class.

I was again, a little anxious about working out so early in the morning on an empty stomach as I can sometimes find myself getting shaky half way through a workout, but was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the whole thing….for anyone who does Bodypump though; how much of a killer is that squat track!!!?

We both worked hard this morning so whilst James showered I whipped us up a chocolate, banana, green protein smoothie to encourage muscle recovery and to replenish our glycogen stores, followed by a repeat of yesterdays EPIC egg, cheese and jam (for me)/chipotle tabasco (for James) muffin which we both inhaled pretty quickly, stopping only for nods of appreciation…and to breathe :)!

My plan for the rest of the day is UNI ASSIGNMENTS…I have 2 big deadlines approaching at an alarming rate and I really need to get my head down and do them :(! and going to friends later this evening for dinner and to watch Broadchuch (a great ‘who did it’ TV series on in the UK at the moment)!!

Question; do you prefer to workout early in the morning or later in the day?

Happy Monday!!

L x

Spinning…Feeling Nervous

This morning I’m planning to go to my first spin class since I left Australia 2.5yrs ago! It was one of my favourite classes, I mostly remember how much it made me sweat.  Usually I would class myself as a ‘non sweater’ and spinning and running (in Australian heat) are the only 2 things that have ever REALLY made me sweat!!

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Les Mills describe spin (RPM) as;

‘a medium to high intensity indoor cycling class, which burns an average of 675 calories, improves heart and lung fitness as well as strength and endurance’

(source)

sounds pretty good to me!!

The prospect of giving my body such a great workout however, is making me feel slightly nervous…not because I don’t like or enjoy intense workouts, but because the last time I did one I was A LOT fitter than I am now.  Since ‘getting back’ into fitness (in a more healthy way) there have been several occasions during which I’ve attempted to lift a weight/run at a speed I used to and have had to stop (usually from exhaustion), and remind myself of the journey both my mind and my body have been through since then, and that I’ve virtually built a new body so I need to be kind to myself and appreciate what I can do not what I can’t.

Instead of thinking every single workout had to somehow be ‘better’ than the last…faster/harder/heavier/longer, my new style of thinking is that I enjoy fitness and the gym, it can always be part of my life if I want it to be and is a long term hobby, so what I don’t manage today I can always try tomorrow or next week or the week after!! 😀

On another positive note, the sun is shining this morning!! My plans for today include a spin class this morning (!), then food shopping followed by a dog walk and then STUDYING…I’m really out of the ‘groove’ with it at the moment, with deadlines approaching quickly I seriously need to get back into it!!  Tonight we’re planning to have a couple of friends round for some drinks and maybe some dinner…it’s great to be living close to friends again :).

Spinning fuel this morning is a big bowl of my super creamy oats, which were blue (!) thanks to some blueberries I added in whilst cooking 😉 topped with peanut butter (it’d be rude not to!!) and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds…hopefully it will power me through!

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I’m definitely feeling full now…fingers crossed it doesn’t weigh me down!

Question; What are your plans for the weekend? Whats your favourite workout fuel?

Happy Friday!!

L x

Weird Weather

I’m looking out of the window in April in the UK at sleet…sleet in April!  The temperature outside is 3c and the average temperatures for this time of year range from 4-10 so I would say it’s off the scale and pretty unseasonal.  I don’t know about you, but I’m really starting to feel fed up with this weather now and would really like some warmth and sunshine (there’s no wonder we are seeing increases in Vitamin D related illnesses e.g.. rickets and depression!).

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In an attempt to brighten our house up a little my lovely Mum bought us some Daffodils at the weekend, I keep looking at them to try and boost my mood a little!

I really don’t like the net curtains we have hanging at our kitchen windows at the moment, whilst they are needed for privacy, I’ve definitely got some new ones fairly high up on the ‘house shopping’ priority list!!  I’m also looking for something to put up at our lounge windows which are huge (250cm in length, which is proving to be a problem as most curtains come in a 220cm drop) and at the moment bare which is horrible.  We’re trying to find some grey linen effect voile material which will give us privacy but still let natural light in.  I would LOVE to put wide slat wooden blinds up as I did at the old house, but they really are very expensive and as we renting this house to allow us to save enough to buy our own place together it’s not really a viable investment!!

This morning I got a little experimental with the pea protein powder I have been sent by the lovely people at Pulsin to try..

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Chocolate, banana, protein pancakes with freshly brewed coffee 🙂

This recipe needs work, they were tasty but really had quite a chalky texture which I’m sure could be solved with the right ingredients…stay tuned!!  I had 2 of them topped with peanut butter and the other 2 with normal butter and some apricot jam…

The nutritional stats look something like this (rough estimate)

Carbs – 12g

Protein – 26g

Fat – 10g

Calories – 300kcal

I ate these about an hour ago and am already starting to feel hungry (boredom??)…maybe I need more carbs or fat in there to satiate my hunger…more experimenting needed!

Plans today include uni work (I MUST do some today!!!) a meeting at the bank with James to open some joint account for house transactions, a trip to the supermarket (we have a HUGE Waitrose about 10minutes away which could be quite dangerous!!) and a step class at the gym this evening :).

Question; Do you feel your mood is affected by the weather? 

L x

 

Big move, Big day

Good morning!!

As you may know now, I spent yesterday’s packing and moving house. Im now on my way (with the most unbelievably packed car you’ve ever seen!!) to my new home in Ipswich.

Yesterday was a pretty hectic day which started off with banana blueberry protein yogurt (similar to the one the day before except I had turned off the freezer so the fruit was room temp which I squished and mixed in, saving a repeat of the cold smoothie situation again)

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I heading to Uni for my final revision lecture first thing. I think it was supposed to be helpful, but actually made me feel really stressed about how much I don’t know :(. My lecturer also mentioned some tips about our assignment that were due in today so in a mild panic, I headed straight to the library, made some alterations and then handed it in.

I then headed home (where it looked like a bomb had gone off!) to carry on packing, the removals men arrived at 2.30 and I have to say we’re pretty speedy…emptying the whole house in about an hour – I hope my things are ok and safe!! I was then left to clean and pack the remaining things into my car…my packing started off very organised in labelled boxes, but towards the end I was running around with black bags throwing in anything I could see before loading them into my car in a VERY unorganised fashion, I’m not sure how impressed James will be when it all arrives!!! ;)!

Eventually I finished cleaning, locked up, (for the last time) and feeling slightly emotional, headed to the estate agents to hand over the keys.

I then had to pop to work to drop some loaned items off (!) where I decide to grab what may be my new favourite drink; a misto (half filter coffee/half steamed milk) with just half a pump of hazelnut syrup (I love the flavour but not the sweetness hence the half pump!)… It was so so good and much needed by this stage in the day!! My friend also wrote a nice note of my cup 🙂

I’d been so busy I hadn’t really snacked all afternoon… i forgot!! which really shows how far I’ve come in my recovery-a year ago, not only was my mind totally obsessed with food but I had to eat every 2.5hrs otherwise I would get shaky and very anxious 😀 but realised I was seriously so snacked on a pulsin protein bar which I’ve been sent to try (review to come shortly!)

The journey time to Ipswich is about 5hrs and I was pretty tired by this point (about 6pm), not feeling like a drive that long, I called my mum; who lives half way and asked if I could stop and stay with her for the night, naturally she was delighted (my sisters also home so she has all her children together…always makes her happy!).

So I eventually arrived, relaxed in front of the tv for a couple of hours with my family and headed to bed ready for a 5.30am start, so i could arrive in time to collect the keys at 9am!

Very hectic few days but I am excited!!

question: what’s your packing style, are you organised? Do you start organised and end chaotic ? Or are you generally chaotic?!!

L x

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Busy Busy…

Just popping in with a quick post this morning…busy day ahead!

I made a school girl error this morning with breakfast, it was really tasty and I did enjoy it but it’s left me feeling very cold on this wintery morning!

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I’ve just turned off my freezer as tomorrow is the big moving day (!!) and had some frozen bananas and blueberries to use up so I whipped up protein smoothie.  This one included:

  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • a handful of frozen blueberries
  • 3/4 cup greek yogurt
  • a heaped tablespoon pulsin rice protein

topped off with tasty granola for some crunch, with a huge mug of green tea on the side and eaten underneath a cozy blanket with a hot water bottle!!! 🙂

Yesterday in the afternoon I headed to Costa to get some of my assignment done…I had 2 decaf Americanos (got one free because a group of kids let off a stink bomb right next to where I was working!), also took with me some greek yogurt and blueberries to snack on…

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just realised this cup was a bit dirty!!..oops!

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don’t you love the colours you get when you swirl berries into yogurt??

I had a pretty productive couple of hours and managed to pretty much finish another assignment so I’ve got one more to finish (I’ve done half so far) and then just checking for errors etc, I really need to hand them in tomorrow before I leave.

House wise, I’m fairly organised (I think!) at the moment it kind of just feels like one big mess, but I think once the removals men collect everything in the morning I’ll see that its just a few bits and bobs and some cleaning left to do…at least thats what I’m hoping anyway :S!

Question: Do you like cold breakfasts in t

House Renovation Part 3…

Following on from my before and after pics of downstairs, I thought it would be good to show you upstairs as well..

Main bedroom before..

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and after…

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Second bedroom before…

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and after…

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So that was our 1st project!! I would love for James and me to do another house or 2 in the next couple of years, money permitting!  At the moment we’re scrimping and saving just to live and get by so maybe when business starts moving for him and I graduate and get a real job again…I can’t wait for that 1st paycheck!!

This weekends has mainly been packing (the house no longer looks like it does in these photos!).  I’ve been feeling quite under the weather, lethargic and generally down.

Since I’ve been feeling under the weather, last week I didn’t go to any of my usual gym classes but I wasn’t feeling any better so on Friday I thought maybe I need to move, thats why I’m feeling rubbish so decided to do an online yoga class I do quite regularly and usually enjoy, but half an hour in I was shaking and just couldn’t hold my body up in any of the poses!  very frustrating!!

I think its been a combination of tiredness, the weather, stress and generally spending too much time just at home alone, I’d really like to think its my hormones coming back but so far there’s no sign of them.

Thankfully though my Mum and Dad came up yesterday and made me go out with them, just for a coffee down the road and it did me the world of good.  I felt much better mentally afterwards and managed to get to the gym for step this morning…I got through it but despite having my step on the lowest level I still struggled to keep up, and my arms were aching all the way through…not sure whats going on with my body but I am trying my best to honour it and go with what it needs :)…making progress!!

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Breakfast this morning is a repeat of Friday’s, the old faithful avocado on toast + coffee.

As you can see in the background, I’ve been busy packing…good job really seeing as I had a call from my removal man last night, asking if he could collect Wednesday morning (instead of Thursday) to deliver Thursday in Ipswich as it’s such a long drive.  That works well for me because it means I can drive down Wednesday, James and I can go and get the keys and be pretty organised (unusual for me!!) on Thursday.  It also means though that I feel slightly panicky as I have 3 lab reports to hand in on Thursday and lots of errands to run between now and then!!

Good news is…the sun is SHINING!! I’m off to meet my Mum and Dad for coffee before my Dad comes to help me with man jobs like taking down lights 😉

Question: How do you cheer yourself up when you feel down?

L x

End of an Era

Yesterday was my last shift at Starbucks here in Liverpool :(!!

Thankfully I managed to transfer my contract to another store in Ipswich which means I get to stay with the company (I just couldn’t let go of all that free coffee!!) and managed to negotiate a 4 hour contract to start with.

I’ve mentioned a few times the amount of Uni work I’ve got going on at the moment and over the next 6 weeks.  Well after that it doesn’t let up for a little longer; I have exams over April and May which will mean 2 things…1. I need LOTS of time to study for them (there is some serious biochemistry involved!) and 2. I will have to make the 9hr round trip in my car 3 times over those 2 months! So as I’m not going to have much free time, not being committed to lots of hours suits me perfectly.  After my exams, hopefully I’ll be able to get lots more hours and start earning some more money!!

We made the decision to move to Ipswich so that James could join his 2 brother’s in a business they started a couple of years ago.  It’s an IT/techie business (I don’t really understand!!!) but they were starting to run short on man power and needed someone to join them, to develop the business and grow it to the ‘next level’.. James is really great at building relationships with people and so is perfect for the job!! What this means though, is that with him on a new business venture and me about to start my final year of study, money is very tight 😦 so I’ll need as many hours as I can possibly get from June onwards!!

I have to say I felt slightly emotional when I left work yesterday, I think mainly because it’s been such an important part of my recovery and the girls I’ve worked with have been so supportive, so it really did feel like the end of an era!!

I’m moving on though to the next stage in my life which I’m ready for :).

Breakfast today (whilst looking out the window at the SNOW – in March…really!!) included avocado that I managed to grab in the reduced section yesterday and toast…

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and lots of coffee of course!

Now I’m off to do some more packing!

Questions; have you got any nice plans for the weekend? How do you multitask when you have lots of different things going on in your life at the same time?

Happy Friday!

 

L x

My 1st house

So I’ve mentioned I’m moving house!! (exciting!!)

Well last August I bought a house with my parents to renovate and live in.  We’d talked about doing for quite a long time but they lived in Italy and I had just started university and to be honest I wasn’t really healthy enough; mentally or physically to attempt such a task.   As the university year started coming to an end though, I was in a much better place and so started looking around Liverpool for properties that were in need of some TLC.  Given the economic situation in the UK, I knew if we were going to do it we needed to be smart, really do our research and make sure there was potential to make some good money!

I started driving out of the city centre to more residential parts of town and getting a feel for the different areas…checking out local amenities, parks, schools etc.  After a few weeks of doing this I made some phone calls to estate agents and booked to see as many houses as I could with an aim of seeing what was out there and what value for money looked like…I saw so many I couldn’t possible tell you an exact number but it was a lot!! I was pretty fed up of it after a few weeks…especially trying to keep up good communication with my Mum and Dad via Skype who were living in Italy and obviously wanted to be sure their money would be invested well…I suppose given the fact it was the first time I’d seriously looked at properties (and I’m not really one for creativity!!) they were a little cautious and nervous of both my descriptions and perceptions of how much potential different houses had (being a newbie and all that 😉 !!).

Anyway…eventually I found a lovely little area, close to a beautiful park, a good school,  with easy to access shops and a great street of urban café’s and restaurants  within walking distance…perfect for young professional people (like myself ;)).  I decided it would be a really good area to sell in and set on a mission to find a house that needed some work (but not TOO much) that I could live in and renovate at the same time…and so I found…

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I moved in at the end of August 2012 and with lots of hard work and help from my amazing Mum we managed to transform the place and we sold it after 1 week on the market for more than the asking price…result!!

I will be posting some before and after pics throughout this week…I hope you enjoy!!

For now though, breakfast this morning…

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I fancied a change this morning so opted for greek yogurt with a (hidden) blob of flax peanut butter topped with granola…mixing things up a bit 🙂

I just had a horrible experience though, what felt like some kind of allergic reaction… I got all hot and came out in a bright red, burning rash all over my upper body…

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please excuse my tired ‘morning’ face!!

Thankfully it’s started to go down and I’m not feeling so panicky!

Hope you have a great Wednesday!

L x