Sunday thoughts

Happy Sunday all! This has been another easy and enjoyable week. Sure, it had its ups and downs, and I never enjoy getting up in the morning, but with plenty of tea, freshly ground coffee delivered to my door, doggy cuddles, biscuits and brunches, running into ex-colleagues (at what point do you start calling them “friends”?) and meeting up with old friends, I think we can safely say it’s been another good week.

New things I’ve learnt this week

  • This week I’m afraid I haven’t watched any groundbreaking videos, so I have nothing to show you. I, on the other hand, have had plenty to observe first-hand this week.

    John TRX

    John performing a pike: this works your lower abdominals whilst challenging your shoulder stability

Ben and I have continued our training together in the form of playing on the TRX suspension trainer, and I also got a technical lifting session in (hang cleans) with our friend and housemate John. His body and background are very different to mine, so it’s interesting to watch someone else train, and I do feel like I learnt a lot. Incidentally, trying to find a half decent video of a hang clean to link you to just took me about 20 minutes – I can’t believe how many people are taking the time to post awful videos on YouTube! Please don’t ever try to teach yourself anything that involves explosive and/or technical movements from YouTube videos, no matter how ripped the person in it looks, or how expensive their lifting shoes are.

John TRX

Ben making sure every position is performed correctly, controlling hip levels

  • From that same training session with John, I got to see what too much beta-alanine does to you. He had accidentally taken too much of his pre-workout supplements along with caffeine a short space of time, and complained of his skin itching – which apparently is a commonly experienced symptom of beta-alanine overdose. Shortly after that, he began to pale and feel clammy, apart from the areas which were being used for training, as his body “borrowed” all the blood to fuel the working muscle fibres. I knew of beta-alanine as a supplement, but didn’t know exactly what it was good for, and that first article I linked to above does a great job of explaining it!
  • As I continue to read The Pyjama Game, interesting little facts and anecdotes leap off every page into my mind. If I were to pick one thing out this week that really interested me, it would be the evolution of the sport of Sambo. I vaguely knew of it, but I had no idea it had been developed in the 1930s Soviet Union, as a way to allow Soviet fighters to compete and win medals but without allowing any input from a foreign nation like Japan. I also didn’t know that the name was an acronym for “self-defence without weapons” in Russian. It was really interesting to read about what happened when Sambo fighters were retrained under judo rules for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, and to think about the juxtaposition of the two very similar yet opposed disciplines. It makes me want to retrain in every martial art all at once…

New things I have eaten this week

  • I’ve been cooking a lot this week, helping out with some recipe testing. I can’t wait to share the photos of the wonderful things that I have made, but for now I have to keep it to myself so as not to compromise the cookbook author. I promise it’ll be worth the wait!
  • I did suffer a bit of a snack attack on the way home from dinner (at GBK – I love the classic salad with chili-ginger dressing instead of honey mustard, and added falafel) on Friday night, so I devoured the Doves Farm Crispy Chocolate & Rice Bar that had been lurking in my bag for the past month. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it sure hit the spot! It did taste almost a little stale, or just strange in general, but it was good in its own unique way.
  • The rest of the time, I have been taking leftovers out for lunches, and when I haven’t been cooking something exciting it has been back-to-basics in the kitchen. So the only other new thing I have eaten this week has been the Pain Quotidien “Botanist” brunch platter, which is all vegan; quinoa taboulé with rocket salad, hummus, green pea hummus (which just tasted like normal hummus… not that I’m complaining), guacamole, plenty of different breads including a super tasty hazelnut flûte, a miniature version of their raspberry “crunola” parfait which I have had several times before, a little bit of fruit salad, plus a fresh orange juice and a hot drink. It costs £14.25 which is pretty steep, but it is still good value even considering the miniaturised versions of everything. Sometimes it’s just nice to get a bit of variety on your plate! They have so many vegan options now; Omega Berry Oatmeal, the Crunola Parfait, at the moment a seasonal special of “Banana Split Morning Detox” (or something like that), a cocoa and pear cake, a chia seed and coconut milk pudding, plus their usual assortment of tartines (hummus, avocado, tapenade, etc) and the “Detox Salad”… Can other chains catch up please?

Other highlights this week

  • Training with John on Friday was really good fun. Having trained with Steph again on Tuesday, it’s been a really fun week of training. Plus, I am starting to see and feel the results, so that helps.
  • After training on Friday, we messed around taking photos of me with my Nuun hydration tablets, to enter them in a competition to win a three-month supply. I love this photo, and I love the fact that we can just play around in the gym:Nuun chin-ups
  • Being able to cook food that everyone has been able to try and enjoy, and giving my feedback to the cookbook author so I also feel like I am doing someone a favour by mucking around in the kitchen and stuffing my face!
  • Going for lunch today with friends, staying until it got dark, then wandering home in no hurry at all. A perfect Sunday.
  • Getting a £1 pack of freshly ground Pact Coffee through the door (use code DALAI to get your first pack for £1 including postage and packaging – it will sign you up to weekly or fortnightly deliveries, but you can cancel with no strings attached). I was sent the Finca San Antonio and it is so tasty!
  • I haven’t been very good at my meditation this week, being lured back into spending my evenings chatting to Ben and John, but this morning I had a great session which I would say makes up for it! That, and it has been nice to reconnect with my housemates a bit.
  • Speaking of housemates, John brought his dog back up this week, so when I’ve been alone in the house working I have had this cuddly little guy to keep me company:Jean curled up

That’s it for today! Before I go, I just want to share a photo I took yesterday as we wandered around enjoying a leisurely Saturday afternoon. In a random little front courtyard, someone had put out homemade jams and preserves, with a sign saying to leave £3 per jar through the letterbox. I thought it was so cute, trusting, and generous, and I do hope people availed of it and paid honestly! It really put a smile on my face, and I thought it would be perfect for Sunday thoughts. Enjoy!Notting Hill jams and preserves