Tuesday, 28 October 2014

RACE RUNDOWN: Tough Mudder (London South)

Saturday 24th October, 6.30am. My alarm is buzzing and I am hauling myself out of bed ready to take on a challenge that was going to test my mind, determination, grit and almighty strength. I was about to take on Tough Mudder.

The event itself has caught my eye a few times, especially when I have seen friends take part and post their finishing, mud riddled snaps on Facebook. But then I have gone onto the website, analysed the obstacles, um'd and ah'd, seen the price and ruled it out completely. The event is £125. Not your average race entry and I have come across many people who have been put off by this hefty fee.

However, is it really worth every penny? Well when I was offered a place with a friend in a team, I thought this was the perfect time to test my true strength and fitness whilst also reviewing an event I have always been curious about.

I got the place a month beforehand so I really didn't have long to train but I honestly felt with my level of fitness, I could get round, albeit if it was a bit slower than intended. I run, swim and cycle every week and this, I thought, would give me a good basic level of strength and endurance. I also spent one evening faffing around with my partner's weights, pulling them left, right and centre, up and down until my arms felt like they were going to fall off.

So, as you can see training was very minimal. But I still felt confident I would complete the 12 mile muddy trail course with 20 obstacles. When travelling down to Winchester, we were all discussing tactics, remembering of course that the main thing was to enjoy it. By the time we arrived, we were keen to get going! 
We decided to go for a later wave of 11am as we were travelling from London and we were wondering how 'muddified' the course would be after so many people had already taken part. Even walking to the Tough Mudder village, we passed so many runners out on the course and we could even see several obstacles on the horizon across the fields that laid ahead.

We didn't hang around too long in the village. Grabbing our numbers and signing our waivers (which basically outlines that the course can cause death - wonderful) we dumped our stuff in the media tent and headed out to the start. My team mate lent me a pair of ultra thin Nike shorts which are incredibly lightweight, meaning they don't carry any additional weight from mud/water and I also opted to wear an old pair of trainers and top that I was ready to sacrifice for good. 
Heading to the start line, we were feeling SO nervous. There was a lot of hype and before we could even cross the line we had to head to the warm up pen where a couple of big, buff army dudes yelled at us during many drills. Then we had to jump over a practice wall which was in front of the starting pen. Ironically, I bashed me knee really hard as I jumped up to hurl myself over. This was the cause of my biggest bruise I have succumbed too. 

After shouting a pledge with all our fellow Tough Mudders ('I promise to help others, motivate and cheers fellow Mudders etc...') the horn sounded and we were off!

We unfortunately didn't have a GoPro with us and looking on the event Facebook Page, there isn't one picture of any of us (this makes me really sad). So I have featured below some snaps from my favourite/most challenging obstacles which are taken by official Tough Mudder photographer Kirsten Holst.


Walk The Plank
I LOVED this obstacle. It was the second one we faced and it really made me feel like I was doing Tough Mudder. Standing at twelve feet high you climb up to have a second to peer over the edge before you are counted down to jump into a pit of ice cold water. This definitely woke me and up but the feeling when dropping down was like being on a roller coaster. It was brilliant!

Mud Mile
More like 100m than a mile but still good fun. I did sneakily dodge the bog pits and I also witnessed my team mate almost lose a trainer. In all, this obstacle was a good giggle and definitely got us caked in mud!

Pyramid Scheme
OK, this has to be my favourite of them all! At around mile eight, this obstacle involved team work and communication. A curved wall with no way to run up it, the aim is to form a human pyramid to get yourself up to the top. We stayed on this one for ages, as it took a while to get everyone up but we also hung back at the top to help pull people up. This is where I definitely felt the team spirit of all involved. Everyone helped one another and no one was left behind.


Kiss of Mud
I blame this obstacle for all the scratches up my legs! Around 25m long, a foot high and covered in barbed wire, the aim is to lay on your front and drag yourself through. I found this very low meaning you literally had to lay as flat as a pancake and scrape your body across the muddy gravel. I practically came out with burns across my legs at the other end!

Just The Tip
I had to use this picture. I apologise for whoever this is but I really feel for you. I had exactly the same problem when faced with this obstacle - height. Standing at a mini 5"3, when I came to this part of the course, I knew I was in for a challenge. After being lifted up to hang myself on the wall, I could barely touch the thin ledge with my tip toes. When it came to the gaps I had no hope in stretching my leg across to the next ledge. I was no where near reaching them so had to rely on my upper body strength to swing myself across (a bit like a monkey). By the time I reached the middle ledge, my arms were burning in agony I decided to hop in the murky water below as I knew I wouldn't reach the other end. 

Cage Crawl
In the lead up to the day, I had decided I was going to skip this obstacle. I have a huge fear of water after a surfing incident but I have an even bigger fear of being caged in it! This obstacle is definitely all about mind over matter. By the time I reached it, I was near the end and I had done every single obstacle so far and was more determined than ever to overcome my fear. I was very wary getting into the freezing water as the first thing you have to do is lie back and float. The water fills your ears so all you can hear is your breathing. Then it is all about speed as you crawl backwards through the water, looking up through the cage to the sky. I felt like it went on forever but by the time I reached the end, it definitely wasn't as bad as I had imagined. Still though, not something I'll be volunteering myself to do again.

Arctic Enema
If there is one thing I will take away and remember forever from Tough Mudder, it is the sheer pain I felt from this obstacle. A shipping container full of ice, this is another part of the course where you have to go in not even thinking about it. Hopping into the tank, your body immediately goes numb, yet you have to wade through the pool of ice and under a rack of tyres. Submerging your head under the icy water gives you sudden brain freeze and when you drag your body out the other end, pain ripples through your muscles and joints the second you land back on the grass. I remember wailing in pain but also laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of it. After walking around in circles for a minute or so, the pain eventually subsided and I was able to proceed with the running.


This is a really relevant point to make. I remember discussing Tough Mudder with a couple of people who have taken part before and one point I raised concern about was running for 12 miles across muddy terrain. I was reassured that the amount of obatacles helps you to avoid the fact you are running almost a half marathon across endless fields. I can tell you now, one thing about Tough Mudder that hurts IS the running. Holy moley, I felt like I was running forever through mud and up and down endless steep hills (and I mean super steep!). At times, the gaps between obstacles seemed to go on ages and for me tiredness kicked in around the seven mile mark. 

Don't get me wrong, I am able to run 12 miles. But on road surface and without a shed load of hills. Put me on cross country terrain and I'm screwed. I can openly admit that. So for anyone out there there who is looking to take part in Tough Mudder, make sure you train lots for the running as much as the obstacles. Looking back at this mistake of mine, it really would be worth it!

Reflecting on the whole day though, it's fair to say I had a bloody good time. Never have I, or probably will I experience anything like Tough Mudder again. I waded through ice cubes, got electrocuted, carried a huge log, crawled through a cage of water and ran up a half pipe. Not your average Saturday.

By the time I crossed the finish line and my Tough Mudder headband was placed on my head, I really felt like I had been crowned a Tough Mudder champion!
Now back to the question - is it really worth the money? I've decided that is in fact a difficult one to answer. For me, an individual that takes parts in events and races regularly, paying £125 is ridiculous. Especially when there is no medal at the end! That said though, looking back at all the people I met on the course, they had entered Tough Mudder for many reasons. To set themselves a challenge, to help with weight loss, to be a part of a team, I could go on. The thing is, what I have realised is that no matter what the price is, Tough Mudder gives people the feeling of commitment. It makes you feel strong, focussed, driven and well, tough! For all the feeling and emotions you have when you cross that finish line and you are handed your complimentary pint of beer, the price of the event is long forgotten and what you are left with are a bucket load of bloody good memories!

Will I be returning? In all honestly, no. I like exercise that is clean and tidy but I can't deny the fun I had.

For more information on Tough Mudder, visit the UK website HERE

Lipstick Runner.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

How running has changed me

(it's made me feel THIS happy!)

Yes that's right, here comes a deep and meaningful life post. I haven't done one yet and now I am settled into my blogging journey, I felt it was time to share in full detail how I became a fitness addict.

For those of you that read my debut post (and for those who haven't you can find it HERE), you'll be aware that I have dabbled in and our of sport pretty much my whole life. At times it has been an intense and big part of my life but in other periods it has been a very small part.

Finding my running 'mojo'.
My true love and appreciation for health and fitness came into action during my last year at University. Studying journalism and with my dissertation focussing on writing a health & fitness magazine for plus 50 women, I spent the whole year buried deep in books and websites all about fitness and healthy living. It was here that I realised I'd truly lost my 'running bug' I had during my teens and I decided I needed to find it again.

After graduation, I made sure I ran once, maybe twice a week. It was normally around 3/4 miles and it nearly always killed me. Despite this decision to take up running again, it took yet another year before I really got stuck into it and found my fitness groove. I think the fact that I moved to London, got my first proper job and was finally settled that I plucked up the courage to join a local running club. After all, I was new to the city and I needed to make friends!

I opted for a running club close to home and one that didn't look too serious. There are some with a whopping base of members that compete in all sorts of leagues. That was not what I was after. I wanted a social group that I could share this common interest with and simply enjoy it. Going along to the first session, I was so nervous. Entering a leisure centre with 100 or so runners mingling in the lobby is rather daunting. That said though, a Captain approached me (she must have sensed I was a newbie) and advised I head off in the 'gentle joggers' group. After a glorious run around Regent's Park with fellow newbies I was dead set on returning. Two and half years later, I remain at the club and have even become part of the committee, volunteering in my own time to club admin and marshalling at races. I have also gained a bunch of close friends, discovered a whole new level of energy within me and even found the confidence to take on challenges I never thought I would be able to achieve.

Ready, set, GO!
Being part of the running club meant there was plenty of inspiration around me. With fellow runners racing marathons, half marathons, cross country leagues and much more, I wanted to join the 'training clan' properly and decided to enter a half marathon. I chose Reading Half Marathon and gave myself around eight months to train. With training buddies and a club coach surrounding me and a sub two hour target time, I worked my socks off taking on several challenges in the build up to the big race. From locally organised 10Ks to even dipping my toe in cross country (and realising quickly I didn't like it), by the time I got to the start line of Reading I was just so proud of myself to even be at the stage of wanting to run a half marathon. I remember it being a very cold, wet day but my family and friends trooped out to cheer me on throughout the course to see me finish in a time of 1.47 - 13 minutes faster than I was aiming for.
(the finishing streak of Reading Half Marathon 2013)

As you can imagine I was chuffed to pieces with this achievement. To this day, I can still remember the feeling I had when I crossed the finish line. It was a tad emotional for me. Never had a ran that far and to smash out a time like that, well, I was shocked!

Since this remarkable journey of mine, I have gone onto complete two more half marathons, three 10 mile races, a 24 hour relay race and several 10K and 5K to reach the below PBs which I am continuing to improve as my running strength and experience evolves:

Half Marathon - 1.45.30
10 Miles - 1.18.02
10K - 45.45
5K - 21.58

Improved lifestyle.
Keeping fit doesn't just do wonders for your body. It greatly improves all aspects of your life. When I moved to London, I moved in with my boyfriend and a couple of his uni friends. We dived into stressful graduate jobs and quickly slipped into the robotic routine of get up, work, come home, eat, sleep. We had no energy to give time to one another, to go out and explore, head out on dates. Looking back on it now, I get really frustrated with myself.

After a few months of being at the club, my energy levels soared. Despite using more energy running, I felt 10 times better for it. Running has also given me more motivation. No longer do I spend my weekend laying in bed til midday. Now an early riser naturally, I am up and raring to go. Myself and my boyfriend (who is now my fiancé) spend quality time together, we sometimes even train together (he too has developed a love for exercise) and our relationship has never been better. In fact, I think it is these hobbies we have that help keep us going. We can share this common ground and enjoy it together.

Along with my social life and relationship, running has had an impact on my physique. By all means, I am no skinny bean. I have always been strong and curvaceous but what running has helped me to achieve is a strong, athletic body. I am toned and healthy. Being so sporty has also helped me to accept parts of my body I once despised and saw as flaws. My large arms used to bring me down. Now they are a power house to help push me through sprint finishes and hold up a plank position. My legs, appropriately nicked-named 'thunder thighs' are my pins of steel for running, cycling and swimming. These are parts of my body I am now proud of and that itself, I feel, is a huge achievement.
( left: 2011, right: 2014)

Setting the challenge
In the last year, I have been more motivated than ever before to set myself challenges that are totally out of my comfort zone. Hungry for new plans and projects, I have gone on to complete my first ever 24 hour relay race, working in a team of eight to continuously run a five mile course for a whole day. Once upon a time, I would of turned my nose up at heading out at 2am, head torch strapped across my head and running through the woods as if it was the most ridiculous idea. What it actually turned out to be was an incredible moment in my life. The team morale I experienced on that night run and all the fantastic, inspirational people I met running around the course was brilliant and the sense of achievement at the end was totally worth the aches and pains that followed after.

What I have also noticed in my attitude towards sport is my curiosity to give things a go. For a good year now, I have debated whether or not to give triathlon a go and last month, I took the plunge and thought, "sod it! I bloody will do it!". Because, why not? With the sprint distance on the horizon, I am now training my body to take on swimming, cycling and running to eventually do them all in a row. To some, this may sound tortuous but to me, it's a huge buzz of excitement.

In all, looking back at the person I was four years ago (taking into account appearance, happiness and personality) to the person I am now, I was say there is a huge difference. Gone is the de-motivation, short temper, frustration and tiredness and I feel totally confident to say these traits have been diminished through sport. What I am now (or at least what I think I am - I hope others would agree!) is an upbeat, positive minded individual with patience and self discipline. All of which has been achieved through lacing up a pair of trainers and heading out the door.

To conclude this, I guess it's fair to say that the best things in life really are free.

Lipstick Runner.

Monday, 20 October 2014


Hi Everyone!

Just a quick social media update. Lipstick Runner has joined Bloglovin'!

To have access to all the latest news and posts, please follow Lipstick Runner by visiting the link below:

Thank you so much guys!

Lipstick Runner.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

RACE RUNDOWN: Cabbage Patch 10 (2014)

Ten mile races are few and far between around my area but are a brilliant distance to compete in. Falling short of a half marathon but a bigger challenge than a 10K, the distance is very doable and enjoyable. 

This is the second time I have ran Cabbage Patch 10 (first Race Rundown for the event HERE). Held in Twickenham in the name of The Cabbage Patch pub, the ten mile course is a fabulously flat, scenic route. With very little training behind me for this, in the week leading up to the race I was a tad worried about my ability to complete the course. I myself haven't ran this sort of distance since April and with only a couple of eight mile training runs behind me, I opted to take this event easy and enjoy it! Waking up at 7am to get ready and make my way there, I felt SUPER keen to get going.
Arriving at the The Cabbage Patch pub, I met my best bud from home and dropped off all my stuff in the bag drop. I started to feel a little nervous as all us runners made our way down to the start which is half a mile away but having my pal there to natter to helped. To add to my nerves, my Garmin wasn't finding signal and whilst this sort of thing would normally frustrate the hell out of me, I actually stood back and saw it as a blessing. Switching to stop watch mode, I made the decision there to just see how I got on and simply go with the flow.

This event only logs a gun time so for anyone looking to take part, I highly recommend counting the time from when the gun goes to when you cross the start line. It took me 35 seconds to reach the start line so I knew I would need to subtract this from my finish time. Saying that though, having the stop watch was still handy as I would know my exact time when I reach the end.

I crossed the start line with my friend and we stayed together the first four miles having a good chatter and catch up. We were still managing 8.30 minute miles between the chit chat and I was feeling ok. I could tell she was eager to trog on ahead so after saying farewell she was off and I was on my own to take in the surroundings and find my pace. 

What I love about this course is the mixture of grounds. From town centres and residential streets to country lanes and riverside running, the route is really rather pleasant. I reached the halfway mark at 42 minutes and surprisingly felt like I had a lot left in the tank. I decided to pick up the pace a tad and push on. It was great as I began to pass people one by one and taking over other runners is the best feeling ever. It shows clear progression right in front of your eyes and I felt my confidence soar each step I took. 

By mile nine (which by the way is marked on the course way too early!) I dug deep for the final mile and crossed the finish in 1.21.21. Not a PB but much, MUCH faster than I was expecting. Plus, I had a huge grin wiped across my face which normally isn't the case at finish lines (it tends to be a look of pain and nausea ha!).

Overall, my legs felt like they had a good run but weren't tired, my body didn't ache and I certainly didn't feel disappointment. Picking up our complimentary technical t-shirt, we headed back to the pub to collect our belongings and of course have a post race snap with some cabbages!
The Cabbage Patch pub is soooo busy at the end with everyone changing, ordering drinks and milling around we decided after a quick change to head to a nearby pub for a well deserved carbed up lunch. I opted for this super scrummy bean burger and chips. It was delish and I think very much deserved. 


Course: 5/5
Scenery: 4/5 (I gave it a 3 last time but I definitely don't think I appreciated it enough then)
Facilities: 3/5
Water Stations: 5/5
T-Shirt & goody bag: 4/5

My time: 1.21.21 (PB remains at 1.18)


Find out more about Cabbage Patch 10 HERE.

Lipstick Runner.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

TRAINING UPDATE: Cycling in the countryside

It seems like yonks since my last Training Update I'm struggling to think through all that has been happening the last couple of weeks. A few runs have happened, as well as swims but the key highlight for me has been spending a weekend in the Cotswolds with a fellow cyclist and close University pal for a weekend of cycling!

I LOVE getting out of London. I'm not exactly a super fan of living in a city so any chance I have to whisk myself off to somewhere peaceful with clean air, I'm off in a heartbeat. When my friend asked me to visit her for the weekend a few weeks back for a cycling weekend, I was so excited! This was in fact only my second ever proper bike ride and I knew where she lived was going to be picturesque (it's on the outskirts of the Cotswolds).

I started off bright and early on the Saturday cycling through Central London (in the rain miserably) to Paddington. I arrived nice and early to board the train with my bike but found when I arrived at the front carriage where the bikes are stored, I was refused entry due to there being a confusion about my train ticket and reservation. After almost flipping my lid at First Great Western (and many angry tweets after), I was luckily let on the train (so I should have been!) and was on route to the pretty little village of Honeybourne. 

I spent the journey reading my book and having a snooze until two hours later, I had arrived and my friend was waiting on the platform with her bike in tow. After a quick stop off at her cottage a mile away, I dumped my backpack and we were straight out on the road. She has a route planned of around 20 miles (I felt like that was a safe distance for me). The rainy weather was good to us and held off for most of the journey so we were able to thoroughly enjoy the cycle side by side catching up on life.
At around the halfway mark, we had arrived at a quaint village (where apparently scenes from Bridget Jones was filmed!) which was lined with pretty listed buildings of houses and boutiques. The rain also started to spit down on us so we saw this as a perfect opportunity to stop off at a local pub for this delicious hot chocolate.
Once we had warmed ourselves by the fire, we headed back out on the bikes to continue our adventure across windy country lanes and endless farm lands until we arrived back home.
I absolutely loved whizzing around the countryside on my bike with these glorious views surrounding me. Gone were the big red buses, endless taxi drivers and constant weaving in and out of traffic. This was my time to pick up speed and see just how great my Trek Lexa is. Turns out, this baby is a breezy smooth ride! Going downhill was a bit daunting as I felt like I was going 100mph but my bike offers great control and sturdiness, especially when braking at high speed. 

Once we has returned home, we got out of our cold damp clothing and into our slouchy slacks to chill for the rest of the afternoon. Being in a cottage felt so unbelievably cosy, especially when sitting in front of this homey fire. I was so comfy I nodded off!
It felt sooooo nice and relaxing being out in the country. The surrounding area was so quiet an peaceful and being snuggled up on the sofa with a toasty fire was far too dreamy. Not one part of me was missing my Central London flat on a busy high street.

By the evening, we were both revived from our cycle and dolled ourselves up to head out for an evening meal and cocktails. We drove into nearby town Stratford to dine at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The food there is divine! I was starving by the time we arrived and wolfed down a delicious three course menu, along with some rather scrummy cocktails!
By the morning, I felt really sad that I had to leave. I definitely should have booked a long weekend so I could have taken the opportunity to cycle out further and explore the area more. It really was such a lovely weekend and I'm already planning my return!

Now I am back in London, it's time to face the music and get ready for Cabbage Patch 10. The training has been well, minimal but I feel confident I will complete the course in full. I just have no idea what time. But, I also don't care. I'm not setting standards with time. Instead, I am setting a standard in enjoying the race. No matter the time, I just want to go out there, relax and have fun!

Lipstick Runner.

Friday, 10 October 2014

KIT PICKS: Budget Sports Buys

Do you do a lot of exercise but find kit can become a costly necessity? I don't know if you're like me but when I go shopping for new kit that I need, price point is something I closely analyse along with the technical elements of kit and how it looks. Vain I know but you have probably guessed by my Operation Bridal Bod project that appearance matters to me and having nice gear makes me want to 'sport' it with pride (like what I did there?).

With running, getting great kit at an efficient cost is easily accessible and I though I'd share with you some of my favourite picks and ways to build your ultimate kit wardrobe.

Don't be swayed by a name.
I have a draw which holds all my running, swimming & cycling kit. It's full to the brim and a struggle to close at times. With gear for Summer and for Winter, I have kit from all sorts of brands. Don't think you have to head to the mainstream sport lines when shopping for kit. There are plenty of other smaller brands out there which offer just as high quality of product.

Here in the UK popular chain Sport's Direct house Karrimor - a sports & adventure kit brand. It is a favoured go-to for me for running tees and shorts. I think I have their short sleeved t-shirts in every colour going! Normally priced around £6-12 these are great for all varieties of sport. The brands accessories I find are also great value for money. Both my cycling bag and running waist pack are Karrimor and were purchased at a fraction of the cost of other labels. I love this little bumbag - it fits my phone, keys, inhaler and gels plus I can squeeze a light jacket in just incase the heavens open whilst I am out.
That said though, where I have been running for a while, I know when money is worth spending. Nike will always be my chosen pick for leggings. I love the fit of them and I find the waistband sits comfortably on my hips and doesn't cut of my blood circulation! I wear leggings almost everyday for cycling and running and having a high quality, durable pair that lasts a long time is key for me here.

Wear race t-shirts with pride!
My kit draw is full of running tops - 60% of which are race shirts from events I have taken part in. Most races you participate in now offer a t-shirt in the price package. Whether it is your rejection letter from London Marathon (I have two tops from this now), or included in a post race goody bag, these tops are designed from runners and make great kit essentials! My bright green Mizuno Endure24 top is my favourite one. It's a slightly thicker option but also a bit baggy, which I prefer when running. You'll rarely see me in a tight sports top - not quite got the abs for it yet.
Invest in the right gear.
For women, ensuring we wear the right kit for our bodies is incredibly important. Running is a high impact sport and us ladies need to keep our best assets safe. If there is one piece of kit to put good money into, it's a sports bra. 
There are various shapes you can purchase with different style straps and cup form. The three pictured here are my go to choices. I'm not exactly a busty woman, but I'm not small either. Coming in at an average 34C, I ensure I am always wearing a decent sports bra. Comfort is crucial and I find Shock Absorber is a great choice, especially for my longer runs. It has a lot more ribbing than the Adidas & Puma options (these are stretch pull over bras that practically flatten my chest) and has a bra style clip which you can tighten and loosen. That said, when doing interval training and fast HIIT sessions, the pull over options I do prefer as they are incredibly lightweight and are made from better breathable material.

If you are on a budget, I would recommend Puma sports bras. Again, purchased from Sport's Direct, I can pick these up for £10-£12. They come in lots of bright colours too!

In all, I absolutely love getting a good deal. My kit picks are always purchased with three things in mind:

1. Will it last? 
2. Is it the right fit and comfort for me? 
3. Is it a decent price point?

These days, I have more sports kit than normal clothes (how bad is that!?) and I love opening my kit draw to a techni-colour rainbow of tops, bras, swimming costumes and jackets. I hope this post has helped to guide you into spending your money in the right places and getting a great kit that will help you reach your fitness goals! Before signing this post off, I wanted to leave you with a few of my favourite places to purchase kit at great value...

Thanks again for reading!

Lipstick Runner.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

FUEL FOR THOUGHT: Home-Made Spelt Smartie Cookies

Ever baked cookies and found they are not the soft, chewy type you crave? Many of times I have baked cookies that have come out of the oven borderline biscuit with just a snap to break it and a very crunchy texture.

Now though, I feel I have nailed the perfect cookie and this one is wheat free! For this recipe I have opted to use white spelt flour which does not alter the taste or texture of the cookie at all. With about 15 minutes prep time and a bake time of roughly 10 minutes, this is a super snappy recipe that can be whipped up in no time at all. 
135g Unsalted Butter
80g Caster Sugar
80g Light Brown Sugar
1 Egg
0.5 tsp Vanilla Essence
190g White Spelt Flour
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
150g Nestle Smarties

Grease and line two baking trays with baking parchment.

The recipe itself is so simple I don't really need to list step-by-step instructions. Firstly, cream together the butter with both sugars until light and fluffy (opt to use an electric whisk). Secondly, add the egg with vanilla essence and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon. 

Next, sieve in the spelt flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Fold in all the ingredients together until a gooey raw cookie mixture has formed. Then, add the colour and pour in the Smarties!
Once all the ingredients are mixed together, spoon tablespoon sized amounts onto the two baking trays. 

When placing the cookies in the oven, make sure you make a note of the time. Whilst traditional cookie recipes recommend around 15 minutes to bake, to get that all important chewy effect you need to remove the cookies from the oven as soon as they have a slight brown finish to them. At five minutes, check the cookies and then at 10 check again. This is when mine had achieved a light brown finish and I decided to remove from the oven at this point.

Leave on the trays to cool for 10 minutes before transferring them onto a cooling rack.

Once cooled, make a brew and put your feet up with a sweet afternoon treat. Careful though. Once you have one you want the whole batch!

Lipstick Runner.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


Since my post on weight gain and getting body fit for my wedding, I thought I would give an update on my progress. 

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will see this new adventure started off pretty good in week one. I had conveniently booked time off work and found myself filling the days running, cycling and pursuing core workouts. It was brilliant! By week two, it was a completely different story as I was unfortunately struck down really poorly with flu (Training Update: Fighting Flu).

The last week however, I have been back out running and training is in full swing again. Knowing that I also have a huge challenge to face June 2015 with Blenheim Palace Triathlon (for more info see HERE) will be a great focus for Operation Bridal Bod. 

Anyway, visually seeing the results is what matters right? This is the first time I have monitored my body through pictures and I must say it really does motivate you especially when you SEE the results. Below is an overview of pictures from me at week one to where I am now.
As you can, the results are small but a great start! My stomach definitely feels and I think looks firmer and I think the combination of running, cycling and swimming is helping to strengthen my core. I can also see from the side that my stomach dips in and isn't so 'rounded' so to speak. I also think my arms look slightly thinner in the above pictures which makes me VERY happy!

From the back, I don't look much different. It's clear to see this is the part of my body where fat settles and gets comfy. I'm going to have to look into blitzing my lower back and sides where it tends to be stored and I think my Nike Training Club app is going to come in handy here, not to mention my weekly HIIT sessions.

In terms of diet, I haven't really changed much. I must admit during the flu, I was barely eating which will have definitely contributed to the change in my body. But during the time I have had an appetite I have kept to normal breakfasts and dinners but have changed my lunches to soups. A simple tin of Heinz tomato or mushroom soup followed by a Muller Fruit Corner is what I have followed and it does seem to fill me up surprisingly!

Despite eating the same foods, I have changed one thing and that is avoiding wheat. Not one slice of bread has brushed my lips and anything that I have had that is normally bread based, I have opted for spelt flour options. This form of flour tastes just the same normal flour and it is much lighter on the tummy. Below are a couple of 'spelt based' meal I have been having.
(Mozzarella, spinach and tomato spelt based pizza)
(Fajitas with Quorn Chicken Pieces and spelt wraps)
(banoffee ice cream spelt waffles from The Waffle House, St Albans)

Now I have managed to kick start the body make-over, my focus now is to well, stay focussed! I am one to fall off the band wagon very easily and so I need to keep up these results. You never know, at the next update I might have some abs to show off (*in her dreams*).

Lipstick Runner.