A craft fair and a long run adventure

I started off Saturday morning with a beautiful bowl of fruit. A kiwi, five strawberries, a pear and some grapefruit.

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Went down perfectly with a big dollop of vanilla yogurt on the side!

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I was still pretty full from our meal out the night before. Dan had requested that we headed out for a Chinese to celebrate our seven year dating anniversary on Friday night. I had satay chicken to start and then bamboo shoots and water chestnuts with some of Dan’s egg fried rice for mains. Normally I like to have a starter followed by dessert when we go out. I like to finish on something sweet but when we go for a Chinese I’m not really bothered as I know all of their desserts are purely items straight from a freezer packet.

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Dan bought me some beautiful flowers and we enjoyed a few chocolates and a glass of rosé when we got home.

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I was working on Saturday, helping with the school craft fair in Northampton. I thought I would only be there a couple of hours but in actual fact I ended up getting there for before 9am and didn’t leave until gone 3, then I ended up stopping off at our Race Director’s house as he couldn’t download a race .gpx file onto his Garmin so I offered to give him a hand.
The craft fair really wore me out! It ended up being really busy… We took £200 on the tombola alone! I think I was so worn out from my attempts at greeting everybody in a really bubbly manner and placing a constant smile on my face!

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There were some fab stalls. I loved these knitted hats…

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And this wine holder policeman that had been donated to the tombola.

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After I sorted out the Race Director’s Garmin I headed out for a four mile easy run. Despite feeling so tired in myself, my body still felt good but as I had planned a long trail run with a friend for Sunday morning I kept the run easy.

This morning my alarm went at what would have been 5:30am but due to the clock change was 6:30 instead! I can’t winge though as I will be appreciating the light nights and extra opportunities to run trail runs over the coming weeks! Laura wants to run the Go Beyond Shires and Spires 35 in June this year and was hoping to learn the course before the race itself. This morning, armed with map and Lucozade we met at the finish, where we left Laura’s car and then drove in my car to checkpoint four of the course. (13 miles from the finish) Here we got out, left my car and headed back towards Laura’s. I was surprised at how much of the course I could remember and I’m pretty confident that I would be able to run the route mapless during the actual race in June. We took it pretty easy, walking up the steep hills like true ultrarunners! At one point a herd of fifty or so sheep chased us across a field leaving us both pretty uneasy and racing to get to the stile at the other end of the field first! The downside to running trail!
It’s been quite a busy weekend so far and I’m back at my parents’ to sort out my old bedroom tonight. It could take a while… Wish me luck!
Do you always run up every hill on a long run?

Life without the internet

Yesterday we had no internet at school. Every Friday for the past month the internet has gone down at some point in the day, which has been frustrating as I teach web design to three classes on a Friday afternoon and it’s a subject that’s quite hard to teach without access to the internet!
After hours and hours on the phone to BT over the past few weeks with them telling me I had software issues at the school they finally agreed to come out and have admitted fault for the issue. Good job too otherwise I’m sure I would have personally been asked to foot the £225 callout charge! Unfortunately it has meant that we are without internet whilst they try and resolve the problem.
With only six teachers working on a Thursday I am sure all but one have rushed to find me to ensure they get the internet working again in time for their lessons. It’s crazy how much teaching has changed.  When I was towards the end of high school the internet had just come around and there were three computers in the school library with internet access that were permanently booked up for use.  When I tell the kids I teach this now they ask me if there were TVs around when I was little.  Erm, thanks…I’m not quite that old!
Breakfast yesterday morning was the same as the day before… Oats and three strawberries.  I’m just loving this combo!

Porridge with strawberries

Lunch was a rush job and I threw together a quick salad of leaves, cherry tomatoes and cheese with a few extra strawberries to munch on before they go off. I also added a Danio yogurt for a mid afternoon snack to keep me going through to running club.

Strawberry salad

 

 

I spent my lunch hour updating the coursework spreadsheet for my year 11s.

Coursework marks

These colours never make me think of traffic lights.  They always remind me of peppers and I regretted not chopping one up as part of my lunch!

Even though in the morning I was super organised and managed to make lunch, put tea in the slow cooker and organise my running stuff ready for club I somehow realised when I arrived in Wellingborough yesterday evening that I’d left my kit bag back at home in the porch.  :(  I’d even been organised enough to put my Garmin on instead of my regular day watch so that I didn’t have the worry of losing my watch when I switched later on.

Garmin

 

After a long day at work (you can see the bags under my eyes in that photo and that was in the morning!) all I really wanted to do was go for a run and was gutted I forgot my kit, so quickly charged my iPod when I got in and headed out for an unplanned progression run over a hilly route.  I really enjoyed it and my legs remembered they can pick up the pace when they’re asked to!

Progression run

 

At the moment my favourite shorts of all time (Ronhill) are on sale at SportPursuit.  I lived in these all Summer long so felt I could justify picking up another pair and one in purple at just £12.90 a pair.  Hopefully they’ll arrive before the heat hits again and I won’t have to rush through my washing pile quite so quickly each week.

In love with the slow cooker lately and I’d quickly thrown together a bacon casserole in the morning for our dinner which didn’t take long to pull out and serve up when I returned from my run.

Bacon casserole

 

Because our school is hosting a craft fair tomorrow morning I had been asked to do some savoury baking for the school’s own stall so ended up staying up until 11pm baking sausage rolls.  They turned out quite well though so I’m happy.  Just got to remember to take them with me now!

Sausage rolls

 

Today is Dan and my seven year dating anniversary so we shall be heading out for dinner tonight after work.  It’ll be nice to see some of each other.  It seems like we’re both always busy just lately.

This is us seven years ago today when we first met…

Dan and I first kiss

 

…and so that you can see our faces, this is what they looked like seven years ago!

Dan and I 2007

Do you have pictures of the first day you met your other half?  Or was it back when taking photos wasn’t such a big thing?!
When you’re married, do you still celebrate your dating anniversary?

A decorated wedding

Firstly, last night I slobbed out in my pyjamas from the minute I arrived home from work at 6pm.

PJ slob nightSometimes, after a day of teaching year 10, you just want to feel cozy and slob out on the sofa.  Good job I got a cheeky three mile run in before work this morning.  My watch was all over the place again though.  At one point it told me I was running 4minute miles.  Um-OK.  NOT very likely!  I took the run pretty easy and just picked it up for 3/4 mile in the middle and added a tough hill at the end before my cool down.  Working on feel I would say I was probably running at 8:30mm pace for the quicker section of the run.  When I returned I was debating whether or not I was too hot for porridge, but I’d left it out on the worktop from the night before and I couldn’t resist making another batch for breakfast.  This time topped with strawberries.

Porridge with strawberriesIt’s pretty filling actually and has actually stopped me from picking at my lunch early the past couple of days.  The joys of eating lunch whilst working…

Lunch at my desk…lots of tin foil!  Coursework deadlines for my year 11s are next Friday, before we break up for Easter, so at the moment all my breaks are spent remarking their work trying to help them achieve the best marks possible.  It will be a relief once their coursework is out of the way.

For lunch I had a red pepper version of my meal from yesterday.  Because the mixture had been in the pepper since yesterday afternoon and then left in the fridge it was a little soggy on the bottom – probably best just to make one pepper up at a time in future.  Anna hit the nail on the head yesterday when she spotted that my peppers didn’t contain any protein.  I must admit I did feel a little hungry yesterday afternoon and could have done with some cheese added to the mixture.

Dinner was another slow cooker meal waiting for me when I arrived home.  I’m really getting the hang of this slow cooker malarkey now!  Similar to the other night – half a jar of tomato pasta sauce, half a pack of Philadelphia and four rashers of bacon (serving both Dan and I) and then I added a few spoonfuls of sweetcorn to the mix along with half a flatbread.

Cheesey bacon sauceI am aware that this picture makes my dinner look rather like cat vomit but you have to trust me when I say it was tasty!

When I headed back to Norfolk last weekend I met up with my friend Zoe, who is also getting married this year, in October.  She was showing me some of the decorations she had made ready for the day and brought out this pot of what I thought were real flowers to begin with…

Zoe wedding decorations

They are actually flowers that she has made herself out of card.  They are really, really good!

Zoe wedding decorations

I’m trying to persuade her to go to a few craft fairs and sell her work but she’s been having none of it!  She’s also been working on some flower style pompom balls to hang in her reception.  They are now slowly taking over her living room…!

Zoe wedding decorations

To be honest, I’ve not really thought much about decorations for our wedding yet.  My school breaks up five weeks before my wedding so I plan on honing in on my creative skills once the stress of work is out of the way for the Summer.  Zoe has got me thinking what sort of things I could come up with though.  Any suggestions?

I have finally gotten round to finishing addressing invitations for our wedding this week.  It seemed to go on forever!  A couple of people have asked me what the invitations look like inside so I’ve taken a few pictures…

All wedding invitations

(Our colours are obviously yellow and brown!)

Invitation

The front of the invitation has an embossed white emblem of horseshoes on the left hand side.  I used to work as a riding instructor for several years, and we are leaving in a horse and carriage so this is something we thought fitted for the day.  (Of course, horseshoes are also supposed to be a symbol of luck.)  I only discovered embossing about a year ago but have become addicted ever since (although not as addicted as Lily, whose wedding is tomorrow!)

Embossed horseshoes

Once the ribbon has been untied, you can lift the top flap of the invitation up to reveal four separate cards underneath.

inside the invitation

inside the invitation

The four cards are:
* The official invitation (details of wedding website on the back)
* The RSVP
* The directions (hand-drawn (on the computer) map on the back)
* Menu choices (If partners are invited, another copy on the back)

Despite the invitations taking much longer than I initially thought they would (probably 20 hours in total at a rough guess!) I’m happy with how they turned out.  I would much rather have a personal touch (and obviously we saved a lot of money on making them ourselves as well.  We paid £24 for 500 sheets of card and this will last us for all the Thank-you cards, Favour cards, Seating plan, Name places and Order of Service sheets as well.  The ribbon came to £11 and I paid £5.90 for 100 yellow envelopes.  Job done!  (Finally!)

I’ve always been one to work through my lunchbreaks.  Does anyone else do the same?
Any suggestions for wedding decorations?  Ever tried embossing?

Experimental meals

Yesterday morning was the first morning I pulled open one of the packs from my fabulous Mornflake hamper I received last week.  After much deliberation I settled with the Mornflake Gold Scottish Jumbo Oats and measured out the recommended portion size (which I rarely do!)  The oats were jumbo (as stated on the packet!) and made a nice change from the smaller size I’m used to.
Mornflake oats and kiwi

I decided to chop up a kiwi fruit to place on top of my breakfast.  It’s been a long while since I’d had one and I picked up four for £1 in my Tesco shop on Monday.  Perfect amount of sweetness to the oats.  I usually add berries, but it was nice to have a change!

I actually ended up having breakfast quite late after spending the night lying on the bathroom floor feeling pretty sorry for myself.  I ended up sleeping in until 8am and then didn’t get out of bed until nearly 9.  This never happens!

Lunchtime and I was excited to try my own version of stuffed peppers.  I’ve been meaning to recreate the dish ever since my friend Vicki made me a version several weeks back now.  All of the recipes I found online seemed to either contain random ingredients I’d never heard of, or items I didn’t like so I decided to go with what I fancied and threw the following into a saucepan…
-two portions of rice
-two vegetable stock cubes
-quarter of a can of sweetcorn
-one red onion-chopped
-one spring onion-chopped
…along with some water and boiled the mixture for 20 minutes or so.  I wasn’t sure if I should add any spices so in the end decided to stick just with the salt to keep it safe!

Stuffed peppers

I made a double portion so that I would have one to take in for my lunch today.  After filling the peppers with the mixture I placed the lids back on and placed the peppers into the oven for 30 minutes at 200 degrees then plated them up with a dollop of sour cream.
Stuffed green pepper

Delicious!  And I am sure it would have been even tastier had I left the pepper in the oven for another 10 minutes or so as it was just a little bit crunchy still.  It’ll be worth experimenting with some different spices as well for another time.

Whilst the peppers were cooking I prepared Dannii’s lemon chicken for tea in the slow cooker.  I followed the recipe on her website, although only used two chicken breasts as there are just two of us!  I didn’t include any wine in the cooker as I didn’t have any to hand, although this might have toned down the lemon a little as I still included a whole lemon rather than cutting back with the other ingredients.  I put it all into the slow cooker and let it cook on slow for five hours until Dan returned home from work.  I boiled some new potatoes and carrots for the side and melted a tiny amount of butter over the potatoes before serving.  Beautiful!

Lemon chicken with carrots and potatoes

I also tried Laura’s Microwavable Double Chocolate Brownie Cookie for dessert but in my eagerness to try it forgot to get photographic evidence.  :(  Blogging fail!  Just ensuring I get to try it again later in the week!

A successful day of experimenting with new recipes!

I also made plans to head down to the London Marathon expo on the Thursday (10th) April to pick up my race number.  I’m heading down with another runner from club who’s experienced London twice before so is hopefully going to show me the ropes!  Can’t believe it’s almost here now.  Eighteen days until race day and my legs are already appreciating the taper I started on Sunday night!  I took Monday off after my 20 mile race on Sunday, then had intended on heading out to club for speedwork yesterday, but still wasn’t feeling 100% after my 3am adventure so settled on a 40 minute walk with a copy of the latest Women’s Running magazine instead.  After a better night’s sleep last night I managed to wake up nice and early for a few miles before school today.

Do you cook with any spices?  What are your favourites?
Any to suggest adding to my stuffed peppers in the future?