We honestly have been living our best lives this week, loads of beautiful food and working out (hard!) with fab friends. To top it off, the sun’s been out to play.
We had brunch courtesy of our lovely friend, M – we worked out in her home gym (amazing!) and then were treated to a brunch banquet of epic proportions. Anyway, it’s got us thinking about the wonder that is brunch – so we’ll be working on some healthy recipes over the coming weeks.
In the meanwhile, here’s M’s amazing courgette muffin recipe (courtesy of BBC Good Food) – try them, you’ll love them. (Almost) guilt free and packed full of courgette, apple and orange.
So, let’s get on to the food. Our gorgeous host made a feast for us!
We salute you, eggs baked on Avocados! Bacon lardons, how we love you sprinkled on roasted Tomatoes! Chives, you are a show stopper! Yes, at this point we were all STARVING!
Why not team up with friends to work out? You can motivate each other, push each other to work harder and reach your fitness goals together. Life’s always better with friends! We’ve been busy with our friends at Keeling Fitness and LA Personal Fitness working on an exciting collaboration which will be on its way soon – watch this space…
This week at Mums In Real Life, we’re focusing on our food intake and healthy dressings which jazz up the salads a bit. We’re doing this alongside our fitness regime, so hopefully we’ll get some great results! Are you with us?
On the menu today, we have a Chick pea superfood salad topped off with a delicious Coriander dressing. It’s not only light on the lips, but on the hips too.
The sun is shining, the mood is good. Here at Mums In Real Life, we’re preparing to get saucy for the weeks ahead. The aim will be to complement our healthy lifestyle with additional deliciousness. We’re talking sauces, dips and dressings and we can’t wait to get started!
We are therefore kicking off with this ever so simple, yet scrummy salad dressing. Things don’t get easier than this.
Pour 150ml Olive Oil into a jar/bowl. Add 2tbsp of Dijon Mustard along with 2 tsp of mixed herbs. Season well and stir.
Whilst travelling around parts of Morocco, I totally fell in love with the cuisine. It’s not hard to do. Vendors, nestled amongst Artisans, sell the most aromatic and visually tantalising displays of herbs and spices, every spirally turn you take through the labyrinths of the Souks.
We tasted many a memorable dish, the best of them being cooked and served straight out of a families home in Marrakesh. We dined in their living room on the tastiest of mez dishes and the triumph of the night was their roasted chicken, served piled high with Cous Cous. Unforgettable.
This is a nod to my time travelling and I can guarantee it’ll leave your kitchen smelling divine. Your taste buds will be begging for more! The heady smells of the herbs and spices take me directly back to my wonderful days wandering the world. I hope it takes you there too !
The most amazing thing is, it is so easy to cook! Let’s go!
Medium to Large Chicken
1tsp Ground Cumin
1tsp Ground Coriander
1/2tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Onion, quartered
4 – 6 Cloves of Garlic (or more – Garlic usage should come from the heart)
1tbsp Butter or low fat butter spray
2 cups of water
Spoonful of cooked chickpeas to decorate
Fresh coriander (optional)
Preheat your oven to 180•C.
Put the herbs and spices together in a bowl, stir.
Put the chicken onto a baking dish and rub it with butter, or spray with a low fat option. Next up, work the herb and spice mixture into the chicken well.
Generously twist some pepper on top and sprinkle with salt.
Around the chicken add your crushed up garlic and onions. Add the water.
Pop into the oven for an hour, basting generously. After an hour, cover the chicken loosely in foil, turn your oven down to 160•C and cook for a further hour.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate and drizzle with the juices. Add cooked chickpeas and fresh chopped Coriander.
Plate up and enjoy with some Raisin and Paprika Cous Cous, topped with coriander.
In addition, how about adding some braised Courgettes and Carrots to the dish?
This went down Mighty well at home. Seconds all round!! Bonus.
Here at Mums In Real Life, we’re always seeking out tips and love to hear your tales. Please comment or email us at:
Thank you so much for all of your feedback from our ‘Shake It Off’ week!!! We have received some lovely messages and can’t believe how many people followed it!! Thanks guys, here at Mums In Real Life, it means a lot!!! We hope you are all feeling as good as we do!
Several friends got in touch with us about the health benefits of Aloe Vera Juice. Thanks for pointing us in this direction 👍🏻
Benefits, to name but a few:
• Liver function
• Clear skin
• Nutritional boost
• Aid digestion
• Indigestion relief
However, it’s very important to note that it can have Possible Side Effects/Contraindications. Take a read:
Here at Mums In Real Life, we love a gimmick and nothing quite beats a good ‘ spiralling’ session!! Not only is it fun (the kids LOVE watching!), but it gets the kids eating their superfoods too and…they just look so so pretty!!
We have the Hemsley & Hemsley model, although there are plenty of others about!!
This salad perfectly compliments our healthy living lifestyle, have you seen our exercise cards? Take a look: Fitness
So let’s get started!! Grab yourself a bag of Super Food Salad (I bought mine from Aldi and it contains: Land cress, red chard, baby spinach, beetroot, baby kale and wild rocket), some peppered mackerel, Cous Cous and sliced red pepper.
Slice up half of a red pepper and make up some Cous Cous. Place a couple of generous handfuls of salad mix into a bowl, then add the red peppers and Cous Cous.
Remove the skin from the mackerel and break up into large flakes.
Decorate the top of your salad with the flaky mackerel and use a dressing of choice. Enjoy!!
It’s ‘throwback Thursday’!!! Way back when, here at Mums In Real Life we trialled out a 5 day healthy eating plan on some of our fussy little eaters. The results were AMAZING!!!! Take a read and as always, here at Mums In Real Life we’d love to hear any tips of secrets you may have! We’re all in this together, right?1
Soooooo, what an interesting few days in terms of the healthy eating plan we put in place and trialled throughout the week. As you may recall (or if you are new, welcome and all will make sense soon), we’ve been trying to encourage a couple of our fussy little eaters to try more food ingredients. Hail the red kidney bean!!! Hoorah for Mexican music! I salute you cod fillets rolled in breadcrumbs! You are forever in my heart, Avocado!
Looking through books, discussing what food we love & why, what food they REALLY dislike (and why – some untasted) we put together a menu. One that was simple, achievable but with a few dishes ordinarily a couple of kiddie winks ABSOLUTELY WOULD NOT EAT at this stage in their little life.
Quite frankly, meal times were starting to get quite tedious. I’ve mentioned before, it was like Ground Hog Day.
See our previous blogs for some of the results. The one I was most dreading, was our Mexican theme night. I’ve tried this before. Loads of times. However, at some point this week all of the cogs fell into place.
I made up a quick mince dish today – it was so easy. For the purpose of this menu I left out Chillies, but I did add Cumin, Ginger, Paprika and Garlic.
I whizzed a (very) ripe Avocado in the blender with a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream and some lime juices. It took about 30 seconds and then I twisted in some pepper.
That was it. Done. As I went to pick my kids up, I mentioned to Tahlia that I really wasn’t sure how dinner time would go down. I genuinely felt quite torn about it.
I shouldn’t have worried. Like I say, some cogs had fallen into place for my youngest. I do confess at this stage to playing traditional Mexican music this morning, us all dancing around, really ‘bigging up’ tonight’s meal.
Here are the results: Yes, they even ate the kidney beans 👍🏻
So a good week. I will go to bed tonight knowing that I’ve been well and truly played. The fact is, there isn’t much my ‘fussy’ little doesn’t like. Apart from a bit of control. But before I head off to bed, I’m going to add some jalapeño peppers to the mince and enjoy my feast (Mexican music and all).
2 medium sized potatoes (peeled and finely sliced)
1 small onion finely diced
1 egg (beaten)
Preheat the oven to 200•C (fan).
On a floured surface, roll out the pasty and cut out some circles (I used a breakfast bowl).
Next up, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and season well.
Spoon out the mixture onto each Pattie shaped pastry. Then smear some egg alongside each piece of pastry.
Gently fold over one half of the pastry and seal the edges.
Twist the edges over and use a fork to gently press it down (optional).
Use the rest of the egg to coat the pasties, pop onto a baking dish and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 160•C Fan and cook for a further 40-45 until golden brown and cooked through.
We’re with you – hands up. Saturday night curry (and Prosecco) followed by Sunday picnic (and cake) and Monday (cookies). Whatever the slip, it leaves us all feeling like we need to remake that decision on a Monday (or Tuesday!) – do we want to get back on the healthy eating wagon? YES!
Now let’s get something straight – we LOVE food, we LOVE a glass or two and we want to eat the cake sometimes. Here’s the thing though, we need to get over ourselves (all of us) and move on. Having a bar of chocolate on a Friday needn’t mean spending the whole weekend eating badly. In fact, we need to get over this crazy idea that weekends don’t count. WEEKENDS DO COUNT!!
We’re all about balance at Mums in Real Life, so have come up with a few ideas to help limit the damage we so often do at the weekend:
Plan your food for the weekend. By knowing you’re going to eat pizza on Friday night, then you can save your calories during the day.
Make healthy choices. Want a curry? Go for it, but make your own (see our recipes for ideas). That way you can ensure they’re not laden with fat, sugar and salt and tuck in to a guilt-free curry.
Alcohol calories count too! Perhaps save your ‘wine’ calories for the weekend and stick to soft drinks and fruit tea during the week (your liver will thank you for it, too). If you know you’ll be drinking at the weekend, adjust your calories to allow for the extra from your wine. A good swap is to try clear spirits too with a low calorie mixer – we love a gin and Fever Tree tonic!
Feel like a bacon sandwich for Sunday brunch? Go for it – grill your bacon, remove the fat if you want to, and opt for malted or wholegrain bread. You can also buy ‘zero sugar/salt’ ketchup if you like your bacon butty with tomato sauce. Remember these calories during the day – it will mean your other meals should be lighter on the carbs and fat.
Got a hangover? Avoid greasy hangover foods and make yourself a pick me up smoothie, full of antioxidants and vitamins. Your stomach (and skin will thank you for it later).
Remember to reset the next day – draw a line, and get back on the wagon! Don’t let a bad day sabotage your eating for the entire week.
Just tried a new smoothie recipe which was absolutely the pick-me-up I needed, so will share it with you later today along with Tuesday’s exercise card. Don’t forget it’s bootcamp day today!
We’ve had so much fun talking about all the brilliant women in our lives, there are so many fabulous role models, we are swamped with ideas about who to showcase. With that, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Lyds Havers-Allan, PT and fitness expert, mum of two and all round inspirational woman.
Lydia is a mum of two who launched her PT business, LA Personal Fitness in January of this year. She runs classes locally to Maidstone in Ditton, Aylesford, Pegasus Fitness, Maidstone and Marden. Lydia runs Kettle Bells and Circuit Classes for everyone – whatever age or fitness level. When we were chatting about her classes, she said to me “Fitness shouldn’t be exclusive. It’s for everyone.”
This ethos underpins her approach to fitness, that it’s not about having a lot of money, or being a certain age or sex. Everyone can get fit. Everyone!
Lydia decided to train as a PT back in 2016. She was planning her wedding, working as a teacher, and getting into shape for the big day when shockingly, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. Although the wedding was put on hold, Lydia was determined to stay fit and healthy through her chemotherapy and maintained her PT sessions throughout her chemo (this must have been so tough!).
Lydia’s PT asked her what she’d do when she finished her Chemo, and said she’d make at good PT. That was the point when she decided that’s exactly what she’d do. Fast forward three years, and that’s exactly what she did!
Lydia studied during her chemo, and used the time to focus on her studies. She smashed her exams, and became a qualified PT in October 2018.
Lydia is an advocate for healthy living, clean eating and a sensible approach to diet and exercise. She’s a refreshing antidote to the vanity surrounding fad diets, sugar-laden diet supplements and the ‘hip-dip’ and ‘thigh gap’.
We’re hoping to collaborate with Lydia to bring some fitness inspo to our Mums in Real Life, so watch this space! You can find out more about Lydia on Facebook or Insta
She’s also got together a team ‘Lyd’s Luscious Ladies’ (I’ll be running) to run Race for Life Pretty Muddy on Sunday 7th July, and we have a fundraising page here:
Got an inspirational person you’d like the world to know about? Please share with us anybody in mind who’s an inspiration to you! Tag us on Insta using #mumsinreallife #everydaybrilliance #focusfriday or send us an email to email@example.com
Let’s be honest here. Often, after a busy day ferrying the kids around to their various activities/parties (sometimes, both!), meal times can get a bit rushed.
This scone base pizza was whipped up in a few minutes and only took 12 minutes to cook. The beauty of using self raising flour is that it doesn’t need proving. These were a big hit in our house this weekend!
Scone Pizza base:
8oz Self raising flour
2tbsp olive oil
400g Tin Toms
1tsp mixed herbs
1tsp red wine vinegar
Toppings (the choice is yours – I used the following)
2 black pitted olives
Start off by Pre heating your oven to 200•C, gas mark 6. Then start to make the base. Place the flour, oil and water into a bowl and mix into a good dough.
Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface.
Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough and make into a ball. Divide into two.
If you’d like round bases, get the base of a cake tin, pop some baking paper top and then place one of the balls onto it.
Use a rolling pin to get nice, round bases.
Now it’s time to make the passata. Tip the tin toms, herbs and vinegar into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. If necessary, use a hand held blender to get a smooth sauce (I didn’t need to).
When the sauce is lovely and thick, remove from the heat. Leave to cool for a few minutes.
Now you are ready to decorate your pizza. Smear the sauce over the bases, leaving a nice edge.
On top of the passata, sprinkle your grated cheese.
Then place two round pre cut pepperoni slices onto each base (eyes). I then used the end of a clean bottle opener to make smaller round pepperoni pieces (for the nose and mouth). Place them onto the base.
Next up, I cut two black (pitted) olives in half and popped them on top of the eyes.
Once ready, pop into the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes.
Place onto individual plates, use some rocket for the hair and sliced Tomatoes for the hair.
We hope you enjoy making these – meal times don’t get any more fun than this! Did they eat the rocket, you might ask? Oh yes, they did!! Parent points, right there 👍🏻
Are you looking to push the reset button and get back in the driving seat of your fitness plan? Here at Mums In Real Life, that’s precisely our intention from this point onwards!
We’ve got loads in store for the week, HIIT, boot camp, Zumba, running and some regular gym sessions in between! We can’t wait to shimmy and sweat away our week with exercise!! Want to join us? Head on over to our website to see the exercise sheets available – more will be available soon: www.mumsinreallife.co.uk
What better to way to kick off the day with this super tasty oat, kiwi, banana & honey breakfast smoothie. Made with 150ml Almond milk and 250ml skimmed milk. This is what we’ll be making tomorrow morning to get us going (usually I’d only use 350ml Milk & 20g Oats but I have keen little kiddies who like to try some too).
150ml Almond Milk (optional)
250ml Skimmed Milk (or 400ml if not using Almond Milk)
1 banana – peeled and roughly chopped
2 kiwi fruits – peeled and roughly sliced
40g Porridge Oats
1 Ice cube
Blitz all of the ingredients together for a few pulses and serve.
Here at Mums In Real Life, we love a good curry. This recipes is the perfect addition to your weekend menu, it’s very simple and as a bonus is also low in fat content. The added beauty is that it can be cooked on the hob. Meal times don’t get easier (or tastier!).
Beef – cubed
3tbsp Fat Free Natural Yogurt
400ml Tin Toms
2 medium onions
4/5 cloves of Garlic
2tsp Cumin seeds
1tsp ground coriander
1/2 red chillies
1tsp ground ginger
Start by blitzing the onions, carrots and garlic in a food processor for a few seconds.
Spray a large pan with low fat cooking spray and place the blitzed veggies into the pan. Gently fry, until softened.
Now add all of the remaining ingredients and give it all a good stir.
Simmer on the hob (at a low heat) for about an hour and a half. Stir occasionally and if it gets too thick, add a few splashes of water.
Serve with rice and Naan bread. Enjoy!
Here at Mums In Real Life we’re always looking out for tips. Please do share any you have with us!
At Mums In Real Life, we are always seeking out fantastic role models to inspire not only us, but also our children. Teachers, doctors, dancers, nurses, athletes, entrepreneurs, authors, cleaners, shop workers…everyone’s story is unique, and to us, success comes in many different guises.
Everyone has their own success story, be it humble (in their opinion) or huge. It’s a scary time when the pressure on people, particularly on young children, seems to have peaked. Here at Mums In Real Life we want to celebrate ordinary people doing extraordinary things. In particular, we want to share their achievements.
With this in mind, we’re delighted to introduce Friday Focus. A regular spot to highlight people who provide us with inspiration, insights and who make the world a better and more sincere place.
Introducing Philippa W Joyner…
Meet the fabulous Philippa – mum of two, PA and author of Children’s magical Realism and Adult Humour. Juggling her time between family and work, Philippa made the most of the latent train delays on her daily commute to pen and publish her first collection of fantastical books, The Anouka Chronicles. The Chronicals are based on the whimsical traits of her own two children. We’re so inspired by Pippa’s dedication to her writing, whilst balancing the other aspects of her busy, daily life. You can find out more about Philippa in her full bio here.
In Philippa’s words…
“JK Rowling and Stephen King tried and tried and tried various publishing doors before sudden acceptance and I wanted to let others know that dreams come true if you pursue them. It takes dedication and knock-backs and I’m still trying to find a great publisher to gain more traction but all females “get your ideas out there”…. imagine being the person who created paper cocktail umbrellas or the Post-it note!!? Create to inspire everyday. “
Philippa will be signing copies of her books at the UK Southern Book Show in Worthing on 28th April 2019 from 10am – 3pm. Admission and parking is free: https://www.uksouthernbookshow.co.uk
Here at Mums In Real Life, we are committed to good, honest and often very simple meal times.
Here is the perfect dinner on a plate when life is busy and quite frankly, everything just needs to be quick and fuss free. But we never compromise on flavours!
Here is our throwback Thursday blog from way back in March….
This lovely board of Spanish inspired food is a perfect & quick mid week time hack that the whole family can enjoy.
Still on my mission to encourage a broader range of food ingredients to my youngest, this was a hit! The Olives were even nibbled and given the thumbs up!
I simply laid out some Sorrano ham & Chirizo Regio together with some black olives, a plate of delicious ripened big fat Tomatoes with Basil and added a small dish of grilled peppers antipasti. I had some left over Asparagus and Spinach mini omelettes (see previous blog), so added these for good measure!
All served with a side salad, supplied by Lennards of Covent Garden.
traditional Spanish music – give it a go! It was delicious!
So here’s the truth. When I left home many years ago, I could barely cook a thing. We all still howl with laughter when we reminisce over university days and the time I was asked to make boiled carrots at a dinner party. You’d think the name was obvious enough? Nope. I didn’t have a clue!
I’m happy to say, 22 years on and that’s no longer the case (phew!). I could make mash, though 👍🏻 For all of you out there who were like me, this is for you.
Here at Mums In Real Life, we love a good mashed potato.
As my children’s taste buds are developing, so is the mash potato I serve up at home. The only thing I still don’t add is salt, but that’s not a bad thing. Right?
This mash went down a treat when I served it alongside a honey and mustard gammon joint.
6 good sized potatoes
2 tsp Mustard
2 tbsp reduced fat sour cream
Knob of butter
Freshly chopped Chives
Start by peeling the potatoes, cutting into chunks and boiling for 25 minutes (or until soft).
Take off the heat and drain. Place the potatoes back into the saucepan, add a generous knob of butter, the sour cream and a few twists of pepper.
Give it all a good mash, adding splashes of milk until it’s creamy and fluffy. Now add the mustard. Mash again.
Finely chop some fresh chives. Place Mash into a serving bowl and sprinkle the chives on top.
Do you have any mash recommendations? We’d love to hear your stories!
This gammon joint was a rare treat. It’s just not a joint I often think of cooking, but having spotted it on Pinterest, I thought I’d recreate it my way. I hope you enjoy it – it was delicious and so easy to make! Not to mention cheap – which wasn’t the aim – but always an added bonus.
2 – 3 tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 – 3 tbsp honey
Apple & Cider vinegar
Firstly, preheat a fan oven to 170•c.
Stud one side and the top of the gammon with cloves. In total I used 17 cloves.
Place the gammon into a baking dish with 300ml water, the vinegar, 4 bay leaves and some peppercorns.
Next, smear the mustard over the joint and drizzle the honey on top (save a drizzle for a bit later).
Loosely place tin foil over the gammon, pop into the oven for 2 hours. Baste frequently. After 1 hr 30 mins, remove foil and drizzle some more honey on top of gammon. Once cooked, remove from oven and rest.
I then used the juices from the gammon to make a gravy – it was the stuff of gravy dreams and really took the gammon to another level.
Hope you like it – let us know how you cook your gammon. Tips are always welcome 👍🏻
This platter of mini wraps is the perfect solution when you have lots of mouths to feed at lunch time, it always receives a cheer of approval from the kids! Based on their favourite sandwich fillings, ingredients included:
To feed 5 children:
*3 Wholemeal and 5 white Wraps
*Tuna & cucumber
*Rocket to dress
Simply spread your ingredients onto flat wraps, roll and cut into equal portions. Place onto serving dish and decorate with rocket, baby tomatoes and some cucumber.
This lunch platter will be making an appearance again over the weekend, that’s for sure!
I absolutely love Easter time! Hands up, I’m not really religious, but for me Easter is all about family. Being together, eating together – one big, loud, crazy family weekend. To top it off, the sun is shining! It’s going to be a fabulous weekend.
Today has not disappointed. My little has had the sick bug this week, and so we’ve not been up to much. He’s feeling better now, but still a bit wobbly so we’ve had a quiet couple of days at home. This also meant a luxurious trip to Saino’s sans children yesterday, so today has been all about cooking!
The schedule for the weekend includes Easter egg Hunting at my sister in-law’s tomorrow (complete with newborn lambs!), followed by a family lunch, followed by Sunday lunch at home with Mum and Dad and a Bank Holiday BBQ with my lovely running buddy – perfect!
With Easter upon us, I thought I’d re-share this delicious Roast Lamb recipe for our ‘Throw back Thursday’ feature. So Easy to make, oh so delicious!
With the smell of Spring in the air, what better way to round off the week with a Lamb Roast. Accompanied by Desiree Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Cauliflower & Peas. Sunday’s don’t get much better than this!
*Recipe available under ‘recipes’ section* www.mumsinreallife.co.uk
The weather forecast for this weekend where I live in the UK is predicted to hit highs of 20•c.
Typically, for a Brit that means screaming with euphoria, flip flops, vest tops, beer and sunnies! For me it means BBQ! More specifically, sauces and marinades.
Here is a poky BBQ sauce recipe I’ve used for ages, tweaked over the years. It’s fabulous smeared over Chicken, as part of a burger or simply as a relish on the side. Oh and I’ve forgotten to mention just how quick and easy it is.
400g Tin toms
125ml Apple Cider Vinegar
1tsp Ground Cumin
1tsp Maple Syrup
50g Brown sugar
Handful of raisins (optional)
Pinch of Cinnamon, salt and pepper
Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan over a gentle heat and slowly bring up to boil.
Leave to simmer for 30 minutes, until vinegar has burnt off and sauce has reduced. All done!
So, I only went and did it! I ran a Marathon! 26.2 agonising, exhilarating miles. The last two days have been hard work emotionally too- a rollercoaster of huge overwhelm, a massive sense of pride and accomplishment (and rather achy knees – I’m writing this with an ice pack on each one).
YESTERDAY WAS A BLUR
After a pretty rubbish night’s sleep (cue dreams about being locked in a cupboard/not being able to make the start line/Paul Weller?!) we awoke at 6.40am. In a bit of a haze we walked the 25 minutes to the start line and found a lovely lady, who was also running her first Marathon. I must check her race number to see how she did (I think she was ready to smash it).
We put our bags in and joined the everlasting line for one last wee before the race started. It was a bit nippy (about 8 degrees and quite cloudy) so we ambled over to the start in a bit of a trance and waited for the start.
We got off to a great start. Keeping pace well and we navigated the hills and ran well against the almighty wind coming off the sea. We kept it up until mile 13, where we found our lovely families cheering us on (seeing my littles faces was such an emotional experience, I will never forget it.)
The next few miles towards and round Hove were ok – we slowed our pace slightly and kept plodding. At this point, my running buddy had a wobble. My stoic, inspirational, fit as anything, amazonian of a running buddy. I was a bit floored. I ran and then found myself losing her, so waited and ran until we were side by side, and continued to do so for the next few miles around Hove.
Then came the dreaded ‘Power Station’ run. I stopped to wait for my running bud, but she just wasn’t there – she had literally been swallowed in a sea of runners (which is hard given that she is 6ft!). At that point, the reality hit me that I was alone.
With about 10 miles to go, it hit me like a brick in the face. 10 solitary miles. And I’m not going to lie – it was awful. Really tough. I had to dig deep. Running up to Shoreham Power Station is actually soul-destroying. It was grey, and the wind was bitter. And to add to things, I just never seemed to get there. Forever.
At this point, something a friend had sent me that morning came to my mind. She’d said “Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. A lot.” So that’s exactly what I did. I ran, counting one – two, one-two, one-two. I’m not sure how many miles it was for, but I’d guess about 3.
Running back along the same stretch after looping the power station wasn’t much better, I’ll be honest. But at the bottom of the hill, where the road meets the coastal path I saw something which gave me hope. It read “20 miles”. 20 miles!! I’d just run 20 bloody miles – I was so bolstered by this fact that I shouted to a couple running past “We’ve done 20, we can do f*ing 26!!” And it turns out we could.
The lovely pair I’d shouted a profanity at then took me under their wings, talking to me, and looking over their shoulders every now and again to make sure I was there. I honestly was (and still am) so touched by this act of kindness. Kind man, and Mel from South Kent Harriers, you got me to 26 miles. THANK YOU.
At that point, I spotted my running buddy’s lovely hubby and son and shouted “I’ve lost her. Is she ok?” and he smiled and said “She’s fine, she’s behind you.” The sense of relief I felt that she was ok was overwhelming – as overwhelming as dealing with the fact we weren’t running our last miles together. Honestly, I will always feel terrible that I lost her. I didn’t want her to feel I’d abandoned her, left her behind. She’s an incredible friend, partner and running bud who means the world to me.
I ran on feeling energised for the last mile or so, and then, at mile 26, I saw that face in the crowd. My girl, my beautiful sunshine girl, the recognition on her face, turning to absolute joy when she realised it was me. And then my gorgeous boys – all lined up smiling and waiting for a kiss. It honestly was one of the most brilliant moments in my life. Writing it down makes me emotional beyond words. Best. Moment. Ever
That was it, I could see the finish line – I was ready to do this. To finish what I’d set out to do. A familiar face in the crowd caught my attention, and it was my beautiful sister. Then my Niece, Nephew and Brother-in-Law (I wasn’t expecting them to come). At this point I was an emotional wreck but it was the home stretch. I actually said to myself “Sod it. Let’s do this, Tahlia” and that’s what I did. I sailed down the last 0.2 miles, I posed for the cameras, smiled, laughed and let myself enjoy the final rush of what I was about to achieve. I’d just run 26.2 miles. Done.
After then, it was a bit of a blur – collecting my medal and bag. I do remember wincing as I bent down to put my bag on the floor and then just chucking myself down beside it whilst I pulled it together a bit.
What did I learn on Sunday? That I CAN run a Marathon. That people can be so kind, and the smallest kindnesses mean the most. That I’m tough, both mentally and physically. And that my knees don’t like running 26.2 miles. Pass the ice…
These little Cod bites are gorgeous, easy to make and are without fail, a real winner at dinner time.
These are a little bit special, not only are they free from any nasties, the breadcrumbs contain Cornflakes too!! That definitely gets the thumbs up from my kids!
Being super easy to make, they only take 12 minutes to bake. Dinner times don’t get easier than this.
Start off by preheating the oven to 200•C (fan).
Roughly break up 1 slice of brown bread (or white, if you prefer) and pop into a blender. Add a generous sprinkling of Thyme, Oregano and pepper. Blitz for a few seconds. Add a handful of cornflakes and blitz again for a couple more seconds. Done.
Next up, cut your Cod (I had 250g Fresh Fillets) into chunks and get organised. The cod, a plate of plain flour, a plate with one beaten egg and then the breadcrumbs.
Lightly roll one cod chunk into the flour.
Next roll the cod into the egg.
The lastly into the breadcrumbs, covering evenly.
Place onto a baking dish. Repeat until you’ve used up your cod.
Spray each cod bite with sunflower oil (I used a low calorie version) and place into the oven for 12 minutes.
These taste so nice and go down incredibly well at home. The cornflakes give it that extra crunch – perfect!
The day is almost here!! This afternoon my running buddy and I will be jumping in her Mini and making our way to Brighton to pick up our race packs.
We’re staying in a hotel tonight, which means we can be up early and focussed for our big run. It also means we get a peaceful evening to contemplate what’s coming and to have a wonder around Brighton sans children!!
As I write, me and the hubby are sitting in bed figuring out the best route for them to spectate. Our dear hubbies are coming up en masse tomorrow in our car (affectionately known as the tank) with the 5 children in tow. (That’ll be interesting!!)
My lovely mum and sister are also coming to cheer us on, so we’ll have a gang of supporters (note to self: must not cry when I see my children/family).
I’ll send you an update when we’ve arrived (and will share my race number with you too).
One more sleep (or maybe not so much sleep – more lying in bed watching the ceiling, waiting for it to be morning).
Saturday’s carb loading menu looks like this:
Breakfast: Wholegrain toast with peanut butter and banana
Lunch: Leftover Quorn bolognaise and pasta
Dinner: Open sandwich on Rye bread with avocado, smoked salmon and egg
If you’re looking for a gorgeous, red, warm curry today then you’ve come to the right place!
I thought I’d lost this Jamie Oliver recipe, scribbled down on a sheet of A4 paper many moons ago! Over the years I’ve tweaked the recipe slightly, to get it just right for me. I’m thrilled to have found it at the bottom of a dusty box, packed up when we moved a few years ago.
Ingredients: Serves 4
3 inch piece of ginger
8 cloves of garlic
1kg cubed Lamb
5 tbsp Fat free yogurt
4 medium onions
2 red chillies
1 red pepper
2 tbsp garam masala
4 tsp Paprika
1 tin Tomatoes
1 heaped tsp crushed black peppercorns
Fresh coriander and mint to serve
Start off by chopping the garlic and ginger and place into a bowl along with the lamb, turmeric, yogurt and black pepper. Marinade for at least an hour in the fridge. The longer, the better.
Halve two of the onions and the pepper, whizz in a food processor along with the chilli (or chillies). Thinly slice the remaining onions.
Use an oven proof casserole and after warming up the base on a moderate heat, add the butter, sliced onion and garam masala.