Do NOT underestimate the cross-trainer

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That thing has had me sweating buckets this week!  Despite not really getting me out of breath the same way running would, I am absolutely covered in sweat within minutes every time I hop on this machine.  Obviously I would much rather be running outside in the beautiful weather we’ve been having just lately but I’m still being sensible with MK Marathon just around the corner.

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous this week.  Dan and I even had a few people round last night and hosted a BBQ in our garden whilst we still have our lovely BBQ patio area.  My kebab sticks went down really well.  :)  I made some just veggie ones for me as well.

Kebab sticks for the BBQ

My race number for Milton Keynes arrived in the post yesterday morning and when I told my Mum that it had arrived she informed me that the bank holiday and Milton Keynes marathon are actually now just two weeks away.  I had in my head that I still had three weeks left and plenty of time!  NOT the case…

MK marathon numberThe race numbers seem to be really small this year.  (You can’t really tell from the photo though.)

Exercise for the past fortnight has moved from running five days a week to a set of rotated core exercises every morning and some cross-trainer work in the evenings.

Thursday the week before last was my running club’s AGM and I came away from the group of enthusiastic, dedicated runners knowing that I couldn’t continue to just sit around and hope that I don’t lose my fitness too much over the next fortnight.  I came home and immediately put a bid for 99p on a cross-trainer.  The display on the machine didn’t work and I (wrongly) assumed that this meant interest in the item would be low.  I put a maximum bid of £10 on the machine and was winning (for 99p!) right up until the last few minutes when a bidding war took place and I lost out.  With utter determination to get a cross-trainer now, I spotted another one close by up for sale and once again placed a bid.  This one didn’t result in quite such a bidding war and I was rather excited to see last Saturday that I had won the cross-trainer for less than the cost of a week’s gym membership.

There is literally nowhere to put the cross-trainer in our house though except for next to the dining table in the kitchen.

Cross trainer in the kitchen(Please excuse the microwave box in the background, we have boxes everywhere half packed at the moment!)

Once we get to our new house next month there should be plenty of room thankfully.  In fact, I even suggested to Dan that we could convert the garage into a gym using eBay bargains that I would find.  He didn’t seem too enthusiastic about that idea though…I’ll keep working on him.

This week I also provided a Pinterest post for Steph, over at Magpie in the Sky.  (Well, I actually made the items several weeks ago now.)  When I commented on what a good idea Steph’s Tried and Tested Pinterest posts were she asked if I would write a guest post for her wihlst she was away on a super exciting trip…Literally jumped at the chance to.  I had lots of recipes stocking up on my Pinterest!  Here’s a sneak preview of one of the recipes I tried, but check out the post on Steph’s blog for the others.

Red Thai Curry - Pinterest Tried and Tested recipes

Do you have any gym equipment at home?
What has been your best eBay bargain?
Do you follow recipes from pictures of meals you spot on Pinterest?

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Back to school and getting organised

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So yesterday I headed back to school after two full weeks off.  The alarm was set for 5:15am (I cry a little inside every time I set this alarm and this is coming from a morning person!) and I was feeling super enthusiastic about the new term ahead.

Roll on day two and I’m already knackered.  I couldn’t stop yawning by lunchtime today and I’m not sure if it is just me, but after two weeks of feeding myself when my body says it is hungry, I found it rather tough today waiting until school lunchtime at 1:10pm.  My stomach was growling from 11am!

I’ve come back for the new term determined to be more organised and efficient when it comes to meal planning and eating better though.  I always start off with good intentions but this time I really am aiming to ensure staying on top of meal planning becomes a habit.

I’ve rekindled my love for porridge just lately and both days this week I have enjoyed a bowl of porridge with a little cocoa mixed in and topped with a kiwi fruit.

Porridge with kiwi fruitThe difference has been that making the porridge has been the last thing I do before leaving for work each morning.  Instead of waking up, drifting downstairs and slowly picking over my breakfast first thing – usually sneaking a second helping of something to delay getting ready for work even longer – I have been making the porridge just minutes before heading out of the door.  Because Dan and I car share, I can eat my breakfast whilst Dan is driving me to work and I instantly save myself probably twenty minutes in the morning.  Those twenty minutes are now used for completing some hardcore core work.  Today it hurt to cough…might need to tone it down a little tomorrow!

I have used the rest of my car time to plan out in detail which meals I intend on making on which nights and even have a defrost schedule for what meat needs to be pulled out of the freezer each night of the week!

I was sent some nakd nibbles this week following a competition win on facebook and they reminded me just how much I need a snack mid morning when I start to flag.  They also reminded me just how much I love nakd!Nakd nibblesAnything that comes in salted caramel wins my vote straight away and the nakd coconut bliss were just like little mini Bounty bars, but softer and much better for me.  I’m all ready to purchase another batch!

Lunches – I’ve gone with the batch cook on a Sunday afternoon, eat a similar thing for the rest of the week approach.  I had been casually looking over the Deliciously Ella website for a while when I stumbled upon Ella’s blog post on Healthy Eating on the Go.  This ticks all the boxes for me.  I love anything with lots of variety and I love the mix in this salad.  I’m using up some of the white rice in the cupboard this week, as we appear to have accumulated rather more than I think we can munch through before our moving date, but I shall be converting to a healthier grain version once I’ve eaten down some of our white rice supplies.

Deliciously Ella inspired healthy living lunchIn today’s lunch I enjoyed; two spoonfuls of white rice, a selection of roasted sweet potatoes and roast carrots, some mixed leaves, plum tomatoes and a large dollop of hummus.  Tummy was kept happy until teatime!

Yesterday I made this super thin base ham and tomato pizza from scratch.  Dan doesn’t compliment my cooking often but he did comment that I made a ‘cracking pizza’ yesterday, followed up by complimenting the omelette I made and failed to photograph for tea tonight.  Gotta be doing something right then!

Homemade pizzaDoes your tummy struggle to cope when you have to go back on a work-lunch schedule?!
Do you meal plan?  If so, how do you go about it?

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When a Miss becomes a Mrs

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When I got married last August I had the best intentions in the world of changing my name on all my documents almost immediately and being super organised about it all.
Then, Dan and I added up our pennies, had a chat and decided that we still wanted to move within the next year so I put the name change on hold for a bit with the idea that I could change both name and address at the same time after we had moved.
Now that it is looking like we shall be moving next month it is time to work out what I have already changed my name on and which documents/providers I need to change my address with and then start preparing to send off my marriage certificate a ridiculous number of times!

I’ve written the following as a reminder to myself what I need to do, but hopefully it might help someone else in the same situation as me!

How to change everything into your married name

Bank
Name change process:
  This was the easiest thing to change my name on as I didn’t have to post my marriage certificate away!  Several of our guests had given us cheques made out to ‘Mr and Mrs Pearson’ and, although we already had a joint bank account, my name on the bank account was originally my maiden name and we were unable to pay cheques in without producing our marriage certificate.  On returning from honeymoon I took our certificate in to our local branch, signed my old name and my new name a couple of times and was issued with new bank cards in the post a few days later.  Simples!
Cost:  £0.

Credit Card
Name change process: We have a credit card with Tesco Bank and everything ends up going on there so that we can claim the points back.  Points mean prizes!  (Or at least cheap days out!)  To change name you have to send in your original marriage certificate via recorded delivery to Tesco Bank, PO Box 27029, Glasgow, G2 9FU along with a letter detailing your account details and name change.  Tesco will return the marriage certificate via recorded delivery and issue a new card in your married name.
Cost:  £0. (Other than postage costs.)

Passport
Name change process:  You can actually change your name three months before you get married if you apply for the change along with a letter from the Vicar who will be taking your service, although you won’t be able to use the passport to travel until the date of your wedding.  We decided not to do this.  Despite living quite close to the Passport Office in Peterborough, there was always the chance that my passport wouldn’t return in time for the wedding and that we wouldn’t get on our honeymoon!  Unfortunately, to get a new passport containing your new name you must post off your original marriage certificate and reapply for a passport, at a hefty cost.  The cost and the fact that the original marriage certificate must be sent off has put me off changing my passport yet, although when I went to the bank to have some statements reprinted  last week I was told that they could no longer accept the passport as ID, even alongside my marriage certificate as that was not the name I was known by any more.  Apparently you can legally still travel using a passport in your maiden name until it expires though as long as your flight details match this.
Cost:  £72.50

Driving Licence
Name change process:  To change the name on your driving licence you have to fill out a D1 ‘Application for a driving licence’ form from the post office and send it off along with the original copy of your marriage certificate and old driving licence.  You can still drive whilst waiting for the new copy of your licence to be returned though.
Cost:
 Free other than postage costs as long as you don’t update your photo at the same time.  Otherwise £14 if you update the photo online and £17 if you post a new photo for your card.

Work
Name change process:  
I took my marriage certificate in after returning from honeymoon.  This was then photocopied and signed by the school admin staff who sent it off to payroll to update my name.
Cost:  
£0.

Pensions Office
Name change process:  

Cost:  £0.

Register to vote
Name change process:  
Very simple, took me two minutes to fill out this form to update with my new name.  If not correct it can damage your credit rating if applying for credit cards/mortgages/etc…
Cost:  
£0.

HM Land Registry
Name change process:  Because I own property, I need to ensure that it is registered in my new name.  You need to fill out the form on this page and also send them a certified copy of your marriage certificate when doing so.  Because we shall be moving house next month I have not changed name on the property and the new one will be held in my new name from the beginning.
Cost:  Postage costs.

Mortgage
Name change process:  I need to post a copy of the marriage certificate to the address which has been signed by someone responsible to say that that is indeed me!  I didn’t even bother writing the address down as we plan on paying off this mortgage next month and taking out a new one for the new house.
Cost:
  Postage costs.

Council Tax
Name change process:  I have filled in a preliminary form requesting the alteration to my details I wish to make.  I am sure that the council will get back to me and require a copy of my marriage certificate in order to make this change, but shall update this post when I know more.
Cost:  £0.  (Potentially postage costs)

Gas
Name change process:  Another very easy log on and change details manually with Southern Electric.
Cost:  £0.

Electric
Name change process:  We never removed the pay as you go meter from our house when we moved in, despite it having been on my to-do-list forever!  No point changing it now and no-one ever had my details as we paid on a key at the local shop as we went along.  The key then slotted into our meter and topped up our electricity in the house.
Cost:  £0.

Anglian Water
Name change process:  Because I had never set up an online account before I simply created one and linked our account number with my new name.
Cost:  £0.

BT
Name change process:  Another nice easy one, although I didn’t expect it to be!  All I had to do was log on to my online account and change my details by typing them in.
Cost:  £0.

House Insurance
Name change process: I insure through Tesco and simply had to call the number 0845 674 6666 and state my new surname.  It was updated manually by the person on the other end and new documents were sent out to me confirming this immediately via email.
Cost:  £0.

Doctor
Name change process:  I just took in my marriage certificate and my details were updated on the system.
Cost:  £0.

Dentist
Name change process:  I just took in my marriage certificate and my details were updated on the system.
Cost:  £0.

Vets
Name change process:  I just told them that Bella’s name was becoming Bella Poppodopulus Pearson!
Cost:  £0.

TV Licence
Name change process:  Until Dan moved in I never actually got a TV licence – I accidentally snipped through the TV cable whilst cutting back our hedge along the outside of the house before I ever moved in.  I didn’t miss watching live TV.  It was actually quite nice not having to remember what was on when and sticking to the TV schedule.  Everything I ever wanted to watch was available on catchup.  At the time I had a LoveFilm account for films and barely had time to watch them, never mind TV in the evenings.  Not long after Dan moved in he decided that the only way to watch football matches was live and a TV licence was purchased!  Another super easy one to change though, simply log in to the TV licencing website and update your details.
Cost:  £0.

end a photocopy of my marriage certificate, along with a covering letter which states my pre-marital name, my new name (including the Mrs part) and my EE contract telephone number to; Customer Administration, 6 Camberwell Way, Doxford Technology Park, Doxford, Sunderland, SR3 3XN.
Cost: 
Postage costs.

Library
Name change process:  When I told the librarian that I had lost my original card she said it would probably just be easier to create a new account and start from scratch with my new name!
Cost:  
£0.

Running Club
Name change process:  Just told them, although they had already picked up on my Facebook name changing!  Super easy!
Cost:  £0.

Student Loan
Name change process:  I need to post a photocopy of my marriage certificate with a cover letter stating that I wish to change my name to: Student Finance England PO Box 210, Darlington, DL1 9HJ.
Cost:  Postage costs.

Car Insurance
Name change process:  I had to email a copy of my marriage certificate over to e-car (my insurers) with details of my policy number.
Cost:  £0.

PayPal
Name change process:  You must scan in a form of photo ID as well as your marriage certificate.  As I am yet to receive any photo ID with my new name on, I haven’t been able to make this change yet.
Cost:  £0.PayPal name change

Amazon
Name change process:  Simply when logged in, click on your name in the top right hand corner of the screen and select Your Account.  When the next screen appears, scroll down until you see Account Settings and select Change Name, E-mail Address or Password.  From the final screen you will be able to simply type your new name in.

Amazon name change
Cost:  £0.

EBay
Name change process:  When you log in to your eBay account, hover on your name in the top left hand corner and select Account Settings.  Select Personal Information from the menu on the left hand side of the page.  Click Edit to change your Registered name and address.  The rest of the process is quite straight forward and involves just typing in your new name!

ebay name change

 

Cost:  £0.

Have I missed any suppliers out?
Have you missed any out?!

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Mixed marathon emotions

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I was so grumpy on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  Sorry to anyone I rang/saw on those days because I was pretty annoyed that following a great Winter of training I went and spoilt all my hard work by rushing downstairs and into a door too quickly – breaking my toe.

Up until the toe breakage I was fully on target for a good race at Milton Keynes marathon which falls in just three weeks time.  

Previous marathons:
#1 Milton Keynes – 5h 6m 52s
#2 Milton Keynes – 5h 25m 52s
#3 Mablethorpe – 5h 11m 15s
#4 London – 5h 4m 15s
#5 Mablethorpe – 5h 7m 16s
#6 Gower – 7h 36m 11s
#7 South Devon – 6h 48m 39s
(The last two were trail races)

As you can see during previous road marathons my times were all within seven minutes of each other (other than my second Milton Keynes experience when it was ridiculously hot).  The plan this year was to switch my training up and aim for closer to 4h 45m, less if I could manage it.  If you keep doing the same thing, you can only expect the same result.

Endurance Life medal and t-shirt

Since Christmas I have regularly run five/six days a week, each week including hills, a long run, some speedwork and some easy runs.  I’ve focused on training by heart rate (I had wanted to get a post up about this but with me not running at the moment, I feel like a bit of a sham and I want to include actual data of how my times had improved…I shall get something up once my toe has fully recovered).  Training by heart rate has meant that the majority of my runs have been run at a much slower pace, but more consistently and I have learnt how hard I can push my body, rather than what speed my body can run at (which can change day by day dependent on so many factors).  Training by heart rate has given me the confidence to keep pushing when the going gets tough.

I have also actually run a marathon during this cycle of marathon training!  The South Devon trail marathon back in February.  Other ‘long runs’ worth mentioning, were the Oakley 20 mile race a fortnight ago, Ashridge Boundary 16 mile trail race and a windy 15 miler.  Although no regular ‘long’ runs, up until injury I was also regularly running a ten mile trail run each Friday evening, which I felt was a nice addition to the week and got me a second longer than normal run in – helping to build up my endurance.

Although I can run without pain, (and am very capable of running long distances still as proven at Oakley!) I’ve been advised to start an extreme taper ready for the marathon now.  I am a bit nervous about this.  I’d done everything else by the book and now I shall be going into race day with five broken weeks of training/potentially with three of them not having run much at all.  I’m more terrified of damaging my foot further or affecting my running style and ending up injured elsewhere on my body though if I was to continue to run.  That would be just my luck.

Not only am I missing out on training but I feel I’m missing out on all the fun as well.  Now that the nights are lighter, Friday evening runs have turned into pub runs and even the Saturday morning runs are upping in distance, number of runners and activities along the way…stop off at a cake shop?  Don’t mind if I do!

Victoria sponge cake

New plan: swim, gym, core work, have a go at aqua jogging and replicate my runs using gym equipment.  I have a bid for a cross-trainer going strong at the moment.  There’s no space for one in my current house, but with us moving house next month and gaining a garage, I figure, what are garages actually used for?…!  Gym equipment, obviously!

I’m feeling much more positive.

How do you cope when injured?
Any chance of me still hitting my goal on race day?…

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