Friday Feelgood Five 19.8.16

Here’s my latest Friday Feelgood Five – some of the little things that have made me happy this week.

The Olympics (again)

Where to start? Mo and Jo, Bolt and Gatlin (boo!), Jess and Kat, the Brownlees, Max Whitlock… and don’t get me started on the drama of the track cycling, when Trotty and Kenny became the new Posh and Becks! I’ve loved it all and will be so sorry when it’s all over this weekend. Roll on Tokyo!



Lidl Running Kit

It was Running Week at Lidl last week, so I ‘treated’ myself to a couple of things. I particularly like the leopard strap detail on the yellow bra! If I’m honest I probably wouldn’t wear these for long runs, but for short outings or exercise classes they’re fine, and great value for money.



Some people who live near us have a massive garden and grow loads of organic fruit and veg that they sell at the roadside. It’s all fabulous and much cheaper than in the shops. This week I picked up some blackcurrants. They were amazingly sweet and perfect with some Greek yoghurt.



At the risk of turning this into the Lidl show, they do very good dark chocolate there, flavoured with all sorts of nice things. And, as well all know, dark chocolate is full of iron and magnesium, so very good for runners. I’ve particularly enjoyed the raspberry one this week.


This Sandwich

I had lunch at Pret a Manger this week, and this brie, avocado and tomato toastie was really good! Loads of avocado in it, kept me full for ages! Definitely not avo on toast though, obviously I’d never put such a cliché on social media 😉


That’s it! Because living well is sometimes just about enjoying the simple things around us. Feel free to tell me your favourite things this week, I’d love to hear about them. Have a great weekend!

Friday Feelgood Five 12.8.16

Here’s the second in my Friday Feelgood Five feature – the little things that have made me happy this week.
The York 10K
I absolutely love the Run For all York 10K; it’s in my home town and I’ve done it every year since it started in 2009, when it was the first race I ever entered. It’s not a great course for a PB and I haven’t ‘raced’ a 10K for over 18 months, so was stunned to knock a good chunk off my previous PB, reducing it from 51:17 to 50:31. Sometimes you can surprise yourself!
York 10K
Olympic Prosecco
I was given this tiny bottle of Prosecco as a wedding favour recently and decided to crack it to toast the Olympic opening ceremony last Friday. I’ve really been enjoying the cycling and gymnastics this week and can’t wait for the athletics to start now.
Trail Running Magazine
I want to do much more trail running next year – hopefully another ultra – so took out a subscription to Trail Running magazine this month and have really enjoyed reading it. Lots of inspiration, and if you take out a subscription before the end of August you also get a free Camelbak Dart – winner!
Trail Running
Neal’s Yard Organic X Deliciously Ella
I love Neal’s Yard products. They’re not exactly cheap, but not only do they smell divine, they work really well and last for ages. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the two new products from their collaboration with Ella that was launched this week. Check them out here if you’re interested.
NY Ella
Wasabi Peanuts
One of the favourites from my Lidl basket last week. I find them totally addictive and am having trouble monitoring my intake – however (like last week’s olives) they make me want a glass of wine too! I almost wish Lidl would stop selling them… but not quite.


That’s it! Because living well is sometimes just about enjoying the simple things around us. Feel free to tell me your favourite things this week, I’d love to hear about them. Have a great weekend!


Friday Feelgood Five 5.8.16

Just recently the world has seemed a bit depressing at times. Terrorist atrocities, mass shootings, lovely people dying, the Brexit fiasco… need I go on? So to cheer myself up I’ve been trying to take pleasure in the little things in life. Each week (probably, time permitting) I’ll share with you five things that have made me feel happy – the Friday Feelgood Five. Probably all quite trivial in the grand scheme of things, but that’s kind of the point. So here are this week’s offerings!

The mug I got at the Yorkshire Wolds Half

This was a tough event (my review is here ICYMI) but worth it to get this lovely handmade pottery mug at the finish. Of course it’s too nice to drink out of!



My new running tights

I popped into Tesco for a couple of things this week and came out with these. For only £14 they’re great – good length, back knee ventilation, wide/low waistband, key pocket and snazzy design! I love them, and they go really well with an Asics vest I already have.



Specifically these olives I’ve just discovered at Morrison’s with lemon, thyme and garlic – delicious. The only trouble is they make me want a glass of wine!


Lidl Healthy Bargains

I only go to Lidl about once a month, but I always discover loads of healthy bargains when I do. On this trip I picked up (amongst other things) tahini, milled linseed (to add to my breakfast), halloumi, dark chocolate, coconut milk and High 5 hydration tabs. They also do really well-priced bags of mixed nuts. Oh, and the wine department is great!



We’re coming to the end of the British strawberry season now, but I’ve really enjoyed the ones we’ve had from our local Pick Your Own farm this summer – sadly now closed for the year. Local, fresh produce always tastes so much better than shop bought.


That’s it! Because living well is sometimes just about enjoying the simple things around us.

Feel free to share your favourite things this week, I’d love to hear about them!



Race Review – Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon 2016

Last year at the Yorkshire Wolds Half I was a DNS for the most random of reasons. I’d had a wisdom tooth removed with a general anaesthetic the weekend before and thought I’d be over it in time; but when I went for an experimental jog a couple of days before it I felt dizzy after about 30 seconds, so thought I’d better give it a miss. I was gutted, as I really wanted the handmade pottery mug given out at the end!

Fast forward a year and I’d signed up for the Wolds again, thinking it would be a great marathon training exercise. The event is part of Bishop Wilton Show, starting and finishing at the showground. This is on a farm some way outside the village of Bishop Wilton, with a very civilised starting time of 10 am. Traffic was well managed, and I got parked up really easily. Online entry to the race was £15, including free admission to the show, but it was also possible to enter on the day by paying to get into the show and then getting the cost of that knocked off your race entrance fee.

I had a little wander round the showground whilst waiting for the off. It was a beautiful, sunny day. A bit warmer than I’d like for running, but a great day for a country show! I was well impressed with the very posh Portaloos and had two wees before kick-off just to make the most of them. As we lined up at the start I noticed that a) there weren’t that many of us and b) most of the other runners were very skinny and wearing club vests. So this is obviously an event that attracts mostly serious rather than fun runners! I began to wonder if I’d actually be last, then spotted a few other less elite-looking people and felt a bit less apprehensive.

Wolds 1

The course is an undulating route through the local countryside, with some stunning views along the way. It’s mostly on road, apart from a couple of miles near the start, which is on decent trail, so road shoes are best. The first half seemed to have quite a bit of downhill, with some gentle undulations, and the hard work really began in the second half. The route is well-marshalled, so you can’t get lost, and there were five water points. As the temperature rose and the sun beat down on us we were really grateful for the sponges on offer too! All the helpers were really lovely and encouraging. There wasn’t much else in the way of support – it’s  more about enjoying the countryside than being cheered on by crowds – but that wasn’t a problem for me.

Wolds 2

I found the second half of the course quite hard, but then I’m not that used to running up big hills. The hot weather didn’t make things any easier though, and I certainly wasn’t the only one taking short walk breaks towards the end. There’s a lot of uphill in the last few miles, although it does level out a bit near the finish. I had a few nice little chats with other runners along the way and really enjoyed it, despite the toughness. My PB in a flat road half is just under 1:50, but my time here was 2:08, so that gives an idea of the extra effort involved! There was no chip timing, but the official time I was given agreed with my Garmin, so that was fine. In the end I came 102nd out of 152 (so few!) and I was happy with that considering the quality of the field. Typically, the sun went in as soon as we’d finished! The souvenir mug makes a nice change from the usual t-shirts and medals and complements the ones I have from the Snake Lane 10.


All in all I thought this was a brilliant event; well-organised, great value at £15, and a challenging course with beautiful views to distract you from the pain. I can’t imagine why it isn’t more popular. Plus afterwards at the show you can get burgers, sausages, pies, cake, ice cream and beer, then go and pet some very impressive fancy sheep. What more could you possibly want? I’ll definitely be back next year!

I hear Jo Pavey always has a big sausage at the end of a race* *may not be true

I hear Jo Pavey always has a big sausage at the end of a race*
*may not be true


Product Review – CocoPro Hydrating Recovery Drink

When I was selected for the Runner’s World/Asics Project 26.2 Paris Marathon competition boot camp about 18 months ago I attended a Q&A session with ultra runner Holly Rush. There were quite a few questions about nutrition, and Holly said she always had a glass of milk after a long run, as it contained the optimum ratio of protein to carbohydrate for recovery. Being a fan of natural products whenever possible, I took this advice on board and have followed it ever since. If I’ve sweated a lot I also usually have a pint of water with an SiS Go Hydro tab in it to rehydrate. However, I was recently sent a new recovery drink to test that offered both recovery and rehydration at the same time.



Billed as the world’s first high protein pure coconut water, CocoPro aims to provide both optimal hydration and recovery all in one drink. We all know that coconut water, which contains lots of electrolytes, is great for rehydration; CocoPro goes a stage further by combining this with whey protein, creating the ‘ultimate hydrating recovery drink’. It also contains 100% of the RDA of vitamin C. The variety I tested contained pineapple juice and the ingredients were listed as follows: Pure Coconut Water, Water, Pineapple Juice from Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Dietary Fibre, Natural Flavourings, Stabiliser: Pectin, Antioxidant: Vitamin C, Sweetener: Stevia. Pineapple is a great anti-inflammatory that would also aid recovery, and I was surprised no mention was made of this.



I drank the CocoPro chilled from the fridge after a long run, and it certainly tasted good; more of pineapple than coconut – a bit like a non-alcoholic Malibu! I thought it would be interesting to see how it compared in terms of carbohydrate and protein with milk (including a non-dairy variety), and also with the High 5 recovery drink that my husband sometimes takes.


Per 100ml

Energy (kcal) Fat (g) Carb (g) Protein (g)



0.1 3.5


Whole Milk


4 4.7 3.4

Semi Skimmed


1.8 4.6


Soya Milk


2.2 0.4


High 5 Protein Recovery 238 0.3 41



You can see from the figures above that the three milks are about the same in terms of protein, whereas CocoPro offers quite a bit more. The dairy milks have a bit more carb than CocoPro, but the soya milk having very little at all. The High 5 recovery drink has much more of both, being specifically designed to do so; but of course it isn’t as natural as the milks and CocoPro. Obviously CocoPro also has more electrolytes than the milks, so is better and rehydrating.

All in all it’s a good product, which I did enjoy drinking; the only catch for me is the price. A 330ml carton of CocoPro costs about £2.75, so it’s expensive, even compared to plain coconut water. On the plus side, it does contain 20g of protein per serving. I think it would be very handy to carry if you were out and about – for example to take at the end of a race – but personally I couldn’t afford to drink it after every run.

I’d be interested to hear what other people use as recovery drinks and whether you have any preference as to natural or ‘manufactured’ products?

If you’d like to find out more about CocoPro you can visit their website here.