Women Wednesdays #2 Run Eat Repeat

I’m writing this one about a woman and blogger I have adored for a long time now. (I think I might actually be a little bit in love with her 😉 but that’s another post!). I’m sort of in shock as I write this because I’ve just read a very personal post by her about her private life, something which I, obviously, had no clue about. It just reminded me of how everyone can shock you with what they’re going through, you just never know till you ask – or on the internet of course until someone lets you know.

I was originally going to write this post without knowing anything about that sphere of Monica’s life though – just because she is damn fabulous. She is, of course, the wonderful, hilarious and motivational Run Eat Repeat, otherwise known as Monica.

meet-monica-about

This woman is insanely motivational, incredibly funny, and she promotes one of the best traits you can ever exhibit as a person: she doesn’t take herself or life too seriously. Or in fact seriously at all in the case of herself, which is wonderfully refreshing and real. I have learnt a lot about running from Monica (mainly – just get off your butt and do it, then come back and eat a pizza) and a lot about not taking myself to seriously too. That’s something I find very hard by the way, I find it so difficult to laugh at my short-comings and my failures. She is also a great balancer in a blogosphere full of health obsession. I’m not saying being healthy or eating healthy is bad, but it can become such a heavy focus these days that we lose sight of other things – like our lives! Monica on the other hand, doesn’t really care. As long as she’s happy, full and replenished after her run that counts as a high-five-moment. Winner! I love that attitude – she reminds me never to become afraid of chips and never to lose my love of pizza.

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I also love her fearless attitude to races. I don’t believe any race would be too tough of too long for this woman, she never seems phased; she seems anti-phased. That, and the honest way she talks about running and her eating habits (which are glorious), make her my ultimate fitness and life role model. I am still stubbornly too scared to enter a running race, I’m not sure if it’s because of fear of failure, or being slow or fear of people watching me pull my running face but I am determined to overcome that this year! Even just an incy-wincy 5km; I have to do it. But reading Run Eat Repeat, I definitely feel like I am going to enter something … one day.

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Monica, I only have one thing to say to you – WHAT A BABE! Please keep posting your delightfully inspiring blog posts.

Follow Run Eat Repeat right here!

Don’t forget to search for Pile On The Miles on her site:

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All images from runeatrepeat.com

Bean salad

Not-So-Baked Beans #freshersfood!

I’ll begin with a little disclaimer…re-starting University ate me alive, and therefore my blog died a death! I still feel a bit like I’m being repeatedly beaten with the educational whipping stick, but I’m getting into the swing of it. SO sorry to anyone who signed up for FitForFreshers expecting more – I was too! I hope to do it again next year, but better. Anyway…

Bean salad

This is an AMAZING recipe – if I can really call it that – there’s little to no cooking goes into this it’s just ‘these things go together… like doowap doowap…*cue Grease moment*’.

Beans – those of the non-baked variety – are such an amazing food; they help me bulk out any meal super cheaply and you don’t feel even remotely guilty. They’re a vegetable but they will you up too, which is perfect, So I usually have a pack of peas, broad beans and green beans in my freezer at all times (they’re taking up no fridge space and keep forever) so I can always head to a Bean Salad if my fridge is looking a little sad and empty. All of these cost about £2 or less from most supermarket freezer isles and they go a really long way. I cook all of these in a steamer, which by the way is one of my favourite kitchen utensils ever (erm… sad much?), but if you don’t have one of those just boil them.

Bean salad

om nom nom

 

Then you can add ingredients as you please. If you can’t cope without meat then why not chuck in some ham/bacon or fish fingers as a super cheap alternative!). Other than that I tend to add cheese because…cheese. Then I keep the rest of the salad raw; you can add leaves of your choice, spinach (cheap in Lidl & sometimes Sainsburys) or rocket or bog standard lettuce, and then usually some tomato and cucumber (olives could work for a Greek style combo), spare peppers…you get the gist. I usually dress it too, this is mum’s homemade blackberry vinegar (thanks mummy!) but you could go for olive oil and lemon juice, or a low fat dressing of your choice. Or, you know, ketchup & mayonnaise, it’s your choice… you’re a student after all!

Bean salad

Tomatoes and Feta are two of my favourite tastes

Ingredients (in mine):

Broad beans
Green beans
Pease
Spinach
Tomatoes
Feta cheese
Dressing

Other Ideas:
Peppers
Cucumber
Ham/bacon/fish fingers
Olives
Glass of wine/bottle of beer…
Netflix

Bean salad

for extra mmm add spinach

 

7 Things To Know Before You Start University! (FitForFreshers)

There’s a bunch of things that must be great to know before you start University; like how to cook 85 different dishes for under £10 and exactly what your alcohol limit is. Or how to juggle friends, boyfriend, a job and studies while still maintaining contact with friends from home. Or how to know which society is going to be right for you from the very start. Unfortunately, most of the stuff I’d like to know for my University life still evades me drastically. But hey, there are a few Freshers Tips I can give, safe in the knowledge that these are good things to know and things which I have learnt the hard way.

 

  1. You can’t shop and cook like your parents do. You just might have to give up Heinz beans in favour of Basics Beans and salmon is probably off the menu for a while. You can get really creative with cooking though, and basic meals do not have to be micro-waved or taste hideous. Meat and fish can be pretty expensive too so I usually opt for a veggie pasta dish – for me at least, it’s the tastiest thing there is. Learning to cook cheap and healthy is definitely an art form.
  2. How to clean a toilet…ain’t nobody gonna do that for you. Thou shalt learn.
  3. It’s cheaper to hang your clothes to dry inside than to pay for the drier – they may end up smelling of burnt waffle, or whatever the of the day may be, but it’ll save you a couple of little pounds. I never used the tumble-dryer is first year and it also saved me the pain of shrinking all my clothes too. My sports clothes I needed so often I just hand washed and it’s better for the material too. For some reason I never seem to be able to hand wash socks satisfactorily though.
  4. The fast food isn’t as cheap as it looks, it’ll fool you for a while but not for long.
  5. Tupawear is your friend. Since cooking for one can be pretty tough to judge maybe don’t even try, scoop up the remainder of that bad boy and stick it in the fridge. And if you’re not hungry, you will be later – never chuck food. Smart students like tupawear in their fridges and freezers. (Chinese takeaways have the best boxes, save those, you can microwave them). The tupawear is also great for pre-packing lunch and snacks for the day, which brings me too…
  6. Pack your own lunch and invest in a flask. Plastic boxes, cute lunch boxes, sandwich bags; whatever you care to transport your lunch to Uni in during the day will definitely save you a lot of money. Yes Uni canteens and shops are subsidised, some more than others, but the Star Bucks opposite your lecture hall sure as hell isn’t! Sad times. A flask full of coffee could save you over £4 a day and homemade sandwiches are always a billion times cheaper than supermarket ones and definitely have less salt content.
  7. Now is not the time to be a cosmetics snob. Maybe it’s just me, but I find that especially my favourite hair products can be damn expensive. Uni taught me to buy what was on offer. And if that’s not working for you Wilkinson’s is an amazing shop for the cheapest hair care, personal hygiene products, perfume and cleaning products for your flat. You’ll end up loving it! (Oh, I also bought a hand mixer from there this year and it was super cheap – I am loving it!)

What would you tell yourself if you were to go back to first year of Uni or College now? Any tips to add to mine? I’d love to hear them – Let me know!

Getting High on D

I was so, unbelievably, relieved when the sun came out for the first time, in what felt like months, on Saturday. I know that I get grumpier, less energetic and generally less nice when I’m vitamin D deprived, so this winter has been even worse than normal as it’s been my first winter working a full time job. Plenty of people suffer with Vitamin D deficiency; according to the ToneItUp girls (I read their blog post last Wednesday, when I still considered myself one of these sufferers) almost 50% of America’s population- I’m assuming they meant America- have a vitamin D deficiency. And that seems crazy to me given how sunny it seems to have been in places like LA and California this whole year- although many of us aren’t fortunate enough to live in perpetual summer, I would hazard a guess and say vitamin D deficiency is probably even more common in northern Europe.

I loved getting out and eating my lunch outside this weekend, cracking out my sunglasses, taking my coat and my cardigan off (woah now!) and cycling out to the fields to throw a Frisbee. It was actual heaven; the whole time all we could talk about was how much we’d missed the sunshine on our skin and hour much better life felt with this big lazy beach ball finally poking its head out from under the duvet. Getting high off being out in the sun is fantastic but what about those times when you can’t? For many of us spring is just teasing, and it may well be a good few months before the sun is here to stay, so I’ve set about researching how I can get this lovely bubbly vitamin into my diet…

–          Salmon (yay): If you’re still living on a student budget like me then salmon is expensive and not exactly your most grabbed-for item. I also didn’t ‘like’ salmon until I re-tried it very recently and discovered my taste buds have changed a bit. It’s pretty yummy.

–          Tuna & other tinned fatty fish: People tend to shy away from the word fatty, or oily for that matter, but chill- it’s good for you too. I’m pretty excited to know that tuna is on the list of vitamin D containing food stuffs since it is actually one of my most grabbed-for items. It’s not too expensive and it goes easily and quickly in salads and pasta.

–          Egg yolk: True story, when I was little I would only eat the yolk of the egg not the white, because the texture of the white seemed gross to me; it’s funny what we put our parents through. So if you’re consuming eggs anyway for protein or yumminess then this is really handy- the egg is like a double whammy of goodness.

–          I’ve found lots of information that says milk, fruit juices, cereal etc. in the US can all be purchased ‘fortified’, so with added goodness, and many of these contain vitamin D too. I don’t know how other countries fare with this but have a look round anyway. There are also supposed to be special mushrooms out there (yes, yes I know, not that kind) which are grown with ultraviolet light exposure so they produce vitamin D. I’ve never paid much attention to how my mushrooms are grown, but I will now.

If you are spending all day in an office like me, where maybe the blinds are even automated to come down to stop the building getting too hot (grr), then finding your daily vitamin D can be tricky even in summer. Maybe try some of these food tips, I know I will, and let me know how you feel? Maybe try walking or cycling to work- you know you want to!- or get off the bus a stop early; all the usual tips, even taking your coffee break outside, it’ll make sure you get the most of the available vitamin D. Sadly, through a window, there isn’t any vitamin D transfer.

Sadly the list isn’t very long, it seems quite difficult to get vitamin D without supplements, but if supplements are what’s needed then that’s just fine. I take Floradix multi-vitamin (when I remember) or Sainsburys Basic multi-vitamin- they all basically do the same job, it’s just that Mum always gave me Floradix as a kid to stop me getting ill or when I was just coming down with a cold, old habits eh? I have also previously taken cod liver oil tablets to deliver oil to my hair and skin, I had no idea they were dosing me with D too (tip: swallow nice and quickly, don’t chew). The positive thing on this list is that Vitamin D is supposed to be pretty robust so cooking it doesn’t really remove its nutritional value; I am a big fan of all things robust, I live the kind of life that requires robust things (furniture, trainers, food, household items in general, boyfriend…).

Are you missing the sun and craving the summer too?

Lemon & Lime slice

Thirsty Tip #1

My best tip for drinking more water is to not let it get boring. It’s sometimes really hard to try and drink the right amount of water when lots of people say it’s the most boring drink, I mean it is flavourless, and they really crave more exciting tastes.

I’m lucky my favourite drink is water. But if you’re bored adding a little lemon or lime juice can really switch up the taste and get you chugging from the bottle again (add it to water guys, not vodka!). Lemons and limes, or little squeezy bottles of lemon and lime juice, are really inexpensive and they add instant flavour to your drink while only adding natural goodness. This saves you buying a flavoured drink that might have extra additives or hidden sugar in it (reading labels often leaves me confused about what’s natural and what’s not).

I sometimes find this more refreshing after or during a run than just plain water, it seems to give me a more of a hydration boost.