Seven Things That Made Me Smile This Week

Sunday, February 11, 2018

This week has felt like a long one and, as always, I've been relying on plenty of tea to keep me going. Midway through February, the year already seems to be flying by and yet, somehow,  winter seems to be lasting forever and, I'm kind of over it. Days are getting lighter and longer but the frosty weather isn't showing any signs of letting up and I'm really counting on hot drinks, comfort food and plenty of sleep to see me through the last (long) weeks of winter. Nevertheless, when I haven't been shivering and complaining about the cold (which I do a lot) I've been getting on with life and, as usual, finding plenty of things to smile about, regardless of the weather. Here are some of my highlights.

Cold pressed juices. Fresh juice is one of those healthy treats I only have once in a blue moon because I'm too lazy to use my own juicer and they're so darn expensive to buy at the shops. But wandering through a food shop in need of a pick me up between classes this week, I came across an apple and berry juice that looked too good to resist. I am 100% not a fan of the oddly brown apple juice sold in supermarkets that really doesn't taste anything like the actual fruit but this cold pressed juice was a perfect sweet and refreshing midday boost.

HIIT workouts. If you'd have asked me even a few weeks ago if I'd fancy a HIIT workout, I'd have probably laughed because while I really enjoy getting outside to do my cardio, I thought HIIT definitely wasn't my thing. But with all of the bad weather we've been having lately, runs have been few and far between and I've been spending a lot more time inside the gym. Unfortunately, indoor cardio really bores me, so I've been experimenting with some new high intensity movements to make sure I'm still getting my heart rate up. Box jumps, hurdles, battle ropes, jump squats and jump lunges have been the perfect way to boost my heart rate and get a sweat on whilst sheltering from the winter weather indoors.

Pulsin bars. Protein bars are usually not my thing because they're generally packed full of unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients and they really don't taste great. But last time I went to my local health food store, I came across Pulsin bars and was pleasantly surprised - the ingredient lists were minimal and, more importantly, I actually recognised all of the ingredients. As they were half price, I decided to try every flavour and they've been making a great high protein addition to my lunch box. So far, my favourite flavour has been Vanilla Choc Chip but they're all really tasty!

Exam results. I only had one exam this January and it was a little bit of a strange experience for me because I went into the exam feeling really confident but came out feeling like I'd rambled for three hours and totally blown it. This meant that instead of just moving on and forgetting about the exam until results came out, I've spent the past few weeks worrying about my result and having visions of resits and graduating late but, much to my surprise, I got my result this week and was actually really happy with my mark. Seeing a result I was pleased with was such a massive relief and gave me the boost I needed to feel like I can smash my final semester.

Pizza. I mean, pizza makes everyone smile right?! I went a little overboard this week and ended up with two pizzas, one for Jay's mum's birthday and another for a work meal (but you can never have too much pizza right?!). Unfortunately, Thursday nights pizza was so disappointing that I couldn't finish it (which is unheard of for me) but that made Friday night's epic pizza taste even better because there's nothing like an awful meal to make you really appreciate some proper good food.

Half-term. Because I work in a school, next week is a week off for me and I'm so ready for the break. I practically ran out of work on Friday afternoon, ready to take full advantage of my week off and, although I still have university, there'll be no 5:30am alarms and I'll have a lot more time to dedicate to my dissertation as well as getting in the kitchen for some recipe testing (and making time for plenty of sleep, of course).

Homemade soup. This Saturday turned out to be another rainy day in a long line of gloomy weekends so I decided to cheer myself up with some good, hearty comfort food. You can't get more comforting than a hot bowl of soup so I put together a delicious carrot and red pepper soup and served it with some thickly sliced toasted sourdough and a cuppa, bliss.

What's put a smile on your face this week.

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