6 Nations – February 2016

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Late last year (November-time I think) we got some 6 Nations tickets to watch France v Ireland and France v England at the Stade de France.

This weekend we (me, OH and OH’s parents) went to watch France v Ireland and it was a great match despite the rain. I really enjoyed being there, soaking up the spectators’ enthusiasm and watching it live.

It got me thinking about spending time with people and how I have changed during this project. I’m one of those people who reads the Buzzfeed posts about relief when plans are cancelled and it resonates. I don’t suffer from social anxiety I’m just a real homebody. One of my goals for this lifestyle overhaul was to make more time to spend with friends and family. I’m currently trying to meet up with at least one person once a week and so far, so good!

I really enjoy spending time with my friends (I’m not a completely anti-social being haha ;)) and making time to do things with them has made me noticeably happier. It also gives me more to talk about which should mean I’m more interesting to talk too. I love to discuss current events, films showing at the cinema and life updates.

To get into the habit of organising meet ups I remind myself that I won’t have these conversations on my own. I also look for activities that are on to see if there are any takers. I have started tracking ideas in an Excel file especially for upcoming events so I don’t forget! I have divided the columns into free activities and activities with a cost so that I can easily see what I can do even if it’s the end of the month and money is a bit tighter.

Living in a city a lot of activities cost something but you can usually find something to do for free. I like to check on the Time Out website as they usually have plenty of inspiration and a diverse choice of things to do. I have also planned some walking tours for when Unicorn Princess visits in March (I will share the link to the google map once it’s finished).

What are your favourite things to do with friends and family?

Here is a bonus idea of something to do together : another cookie recipe!

These oatmeal and raisin cookies are gorgeous but let them cool down a little or they will fall apart. I cooled them for 5-10 minutes on the tray and then moved them to a wire rack (aka one of my oven shelves on the counter top…)

Oatmeal raisin cookies

The raisins in these are so juicy that the biscuit has a texture similar to flapjacks.

Bitten cookie

Keep Climbing and share your activity ideas in the comments below!

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Warming recipes for these cold nights

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As promised in my previous post (which was definitely too long ago!) here are some warming recipes to keep your belly warm on a winter’s night.

Recipe 1 – Broccoli Soup

I used the bbcgoodfood recipe for this one and it was really tasty. Adjusted the recipe slightly as I didn’t have any rapeseed oil so I used some vegetable oil instead and I swapped out the Stilton (not readily available in France) for some Bleu d’Auvergne instead. It looks very similar:

bleu d'auvergne

The soup simmers away for a good 15 minutes once everything is in:

broccoli soup

And then when it’s all blitzed up it goes the most beautiful pea-green colour:

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Highly recommend this one for a creamy soup with a nice punchy flavour.

Recipe 2 – Chocolate cookies

Inspired by the recipe on Gimme Some Oven I made a batch of these chocolate chip cookies. Mine were rather chocolate “chunk” cookies as I just chopped up a big bar of dark chocolate. These were so gooey and delicious!

It doesn’t look like much before you ball them up but it’s so worth it!

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Because when they come out of the oven warm – you see this gloriousness 🙂

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And biting into them is like pillowy soft cookie filled with molten dark chocolate:

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These keep well in an airtight container if you don’t want to eat them immediately…

That is the sort of willpower I’m working towards! I had one of these while they were still warm and then another one for a quick breakfast the next day.

Normally, I eat some yoghurt or toast for breakfast so this was a real treat.

I was going to include a cauliflower soup recipe but it went a bit weird and doesn’t look appetising in the photos. I will have another go and upload if successful!

Just got to keep climbing even when things go pear-shaped 😉

Check in – Week 3 starts!

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The act of ticking things off a list is so satisfying. It’s like an instant sense of accomplishment and a pat on the back all rolled into one. That’s why I like Blogilates.com monthly workout planners so much 🙂

Since last posting I have also completed another run around the block and I’m trying to work out how I can insert the data into posts (I’m not sure how interesting that would be though!)

I’ve also tested out the following Blogilates videos:

POP Pilates for Beginners: Ab Time – this video was really helpful because it went through the moves slowly and so I could check that I was doing them properly. It was an effective workout and followed by the 10 min Ab Sculpting I felt well and truly snapped in 2!

The Bubble Butt Workout was well-timed to break up all the abs exercises. With the WT challenge and jogging around the block my abs are feeling fairly used most of the time and it felt good to work other muscles for a change! I’m not sure if a “bubble butt” is really what I’m seeking but it can’t hurt to be a bit perkier in the behind.

I finished up last week with Total Body Pilates with Ana Caban it was really cute to see Cassey fangirling in the intro to this video. Ana and Cassey go through what I now consider to be “classic” pilates moves. There’s lots of things in “tabletop” position and with the pilates “neck” (head raised slightly off the floor). It was nice to have more chat in the videos as I felt a bit more like I was in a class rather than at home on the sitting room floor.

On Friday I did a Pilates class at work and kicked my butt! I was still aching yesterday but today the aches and pains have gone so tonight will be another run around the block followed by some more Beginners 2.0 videos and I will pick up the WT challenge again.

I have continued eating low-sugar foods and no dessert. This weekend food highlights included: leeks in a mustard/red wine vinegar vinaigrette with a slice of ham, a beef goulash and a teeny bit of home made apple compote.

Not sure what videos await me after running this evening but I’ll update on them very soon.

Keep climbing !