Costa Teguise | Lanzarote

Last year I visited Costa Teguise in Lanzarote for a week-long holiday with Aaron. One of the main reasons I have wanted to start a blog is so I can share photos of places I’ve visited, and last year’s holiday was so awesome I remember being frustrated I didn’t have a blog to share photos on. With our holiday to Malta only 8 days away, I thought I’d write about our last holiday.

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As soon as we arrived we took a trip to the local town… or tried to anyway. We didn’t really know where we were heading and we got incredibly lost. Every street looked the same and we still weren’t finding the restaurants we believed were super close to our hotel. We bought sandwich material from a shop and sat on a bench and sighed. We felt like we were miles and miles away from our hotel and were never going to get back. We were picture perfect Brits: sweaty, sad and lost… very lost.

We had no idea how to get back to our hotel and admitted defeat after a good forty minutes and got in a taxi. As it turned out we were (a literal) three minute drive away from our hotel. It’s safe to say we laughed awkwardly as we handed over a very small amount of change in exchange for the very short journey and hung our heads in shame as we walked into the hotel lobby.

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After watching closely how to get to our hotel from the taxi window we quickly got used to the area and fell in love with the cluster of restaurants snuggled up together. There were the loveliest bars- an Irish one we visited every night and a bar with live entertainment called The Lighthouse that we also adored. Choosing where to go every night was like asking me to name my favourite book: near impossible. I would love to and do hope to go back because there are a few places we didn’t get to try out.

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Our walk down to the village of restaurants was a nice one. Not too short, not too long. We had a lot of tapas but we also tried out a Mexican, Italian and also an “everything” kind of restaurant. The square had such a lovely atmosphere and was very busy even though we went in the first week of July. We had a day dedicated to watching a Murray Wimbledon match in a sports bar which was definitely a highlight of the holiday.

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It was our trip to Costa Teguise that sparked me becoming a foodie. I swore I never liked paella before this holiday but oh my goodness, I love paella. This was a very orangey-based fish paella and it was (alongside some tapas we had on the last night) my favourite meal of the holiday. On this particular night we took a trip to a local town a fifteen/twenty minute taxi ride away. A member of staff at our hotel recommended it because of their fried cheese (my favourite food I could never be ashamed of), and it was such a pretty harbour with just a few restaurants. This restaurant was very small and cafe-looking and yet incredibly professionally run with the most amazing food. The size made only made it more endearing. It was the exact place you look for on a holiday!

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During the week we went on an excursion to Playa Blanca (which is where I went on holiday earlier this month): the marina and then the harbour. We went to the Playa Blanca market first which was scattered along the marina. Aaron tested out his “bartering” skills and was childishly excited when he believed he “won”, grinning at the pair of sunglasses in his hand. It was a very hot day and so we went to the restaurant my family and I adored from the year before and had a milkshake. We then headed down to the lovely harbour and ate lunch.

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We spent a couple of days by the pool, Aaron taking part in some of poolside games; pool and table tennis. Table tennis was particularly amusing to watch because of the genuinely competitive nature of a lot of the grown men. Aaron insists I tell you that although he came second in both events, he most certainly had his win stolen unfairly from him. In hindsight maybe it was Aaron that mainly contributed to the competitive atmosphere.

We both took part in waterpolo where my competitive edge resurfaced- heck, I’m not sure it ever un-surfaces. One setback we did have, however, was a middle-aged man dunking Aaron’s head under the water in order to get the ball. If we thought we were a competitive duo, we were way more than matched when it came to the dads that did take part. We won (funny how Aaron wins once I’m involved) and celebrated with smug smiles whilst forgetting that we were mostly in competition with children.

Throughout the week we took advantage of the sports facilities at the hotel which were awesome. As well as playing table tennis we played tennis which, when you put two incredibly competitive people who love tennis against each other on holiday, it makes for a very tense afternoon. Even more so when I lose.

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On the last night we found a more hidden restaurant- on the outside of the main square. We were incredibly upset we hadn’t found the place (I believe it was called No 1 Tapas Bar) before the last night because it really was no. 1 tapas. We had canarian potatoes, calamari, chorizo and tomato, Spanish omelette and fried cheese. Accompanied by a lovely atmosphere we had the characteristic owner looking after us, constantly making us giggle- although Aaron gave him something to giggle about when he attempted to recall some GCSE Spanish.

Costa Teguise is a friendly, pretty and vibrant area of Lanzarote with a lot to do!

~ Kat ~

A Tick on the Bucket List | Wimbledon

I have always intended to write my bucket list down. I always say “this is on my bucket list; so’s that!”, but I know along the way I must have forgotten things I want to do/places I want to visit and so I do endeavour to actually write my list down soon. This week, however, I did tick something off of my bucket list that has always been one of the absolute bucket list musts.

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After three/four hours of queuing we paid for our grounds only tickets (which was always the play) and walking into Wimbledon felt like walking into Disneyland when I was younger (and what it would be like if I went today). The grounds are so pretty- so green, purple and white. There are people bustling everywhere and it was so incredible to be surrounded by other tennis lovers while we peeked into courts and saw a few hits between players. It felt so weird to be walking around the place I’ve seen glimpses of in Wimbledon coverage.

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We queued up for Court 3 and were delighted to get in to watch the second and third set between Gasquet (French) and Bedene (British). Being on court to watch a British player was awesome and since I’m also a fan of  Gasquet we felt super lucky. It was hard not to just grin the whole time and I spent the whole day not really believing I was finally at Wimbledon, after years of wanting to be!

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We then headed to Henman Hill (the part of the day I was most excited for!) with plenty of time to find a good spot, get ourselves sorted and watch the end of Williams’ game- it was amazing to be so close to one of the strongest female players in the world! The weather held out and actually got pretty warm and so we ate our strawberries and I had a Pimm’s from the refreshment stool (over £8- I nearly dropped it when I found out!). One awesome aspect of Wimbledon is that you’re allowed to bring in your own food and drink. I get so frustrated when events prohibit things like this and since the event it so reasonable I resisted throwing it over the refreshments worker.

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Watching Murray’s match (against Broady, another British player!) on Henman Hill was just about one of my favourite couple of hours I have lived for! *Queue cringey, chuffed Wimbledon tourist picture.* The hill is smaller than I expected but it meant for a nice and cosy crowd. It was just the best to be surrounded by Murray fans and to be part of the roar when he won! As well as wanting to go next year to watch Murray on Centre Court, I also want to see a later Murray match whilst sat on Henman Hill. I bet it’s electric.

We were starting to feel very tired after our four o’clock start and definitely needed Murray’s match to wake us up. It felt so summery to be lying on the grass with a big screen ahead of us with my favourite sportsman winning! If I don’t own a house with a garden that has a giant TV so I can do this every day, I’m just not sure how I’ll cope.

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It started to rain not long after Murray’s match finished but our spirits weren’t dampened- despite not really knowing what to do next. We walked about to find shelter and were about to settle on the idea of checking out the town because, of course, only Centre Court could go ahead with play because of the roof. We weren’t disappointed because the town looked incredible and we knew we wanted to check it out another day anyway. Before we turned around to say a fond farewell, a lady approached us asking us if we had Centre Court tickets. In the blink of an eye, we had Centre Court tickets handed to us because they were leaving. With our mouths in the perfect “o” shape, I squealed “You’re the best!” after them as another man offered us money to take them off of our hands.

The day felt like a bunch of dreams coming true one after each other and it was safe to say we barely took half a second to decline the man’s offer. If walking around the grounds felt like what walking around Disneyland was like when I was younger, walking into Centre Court was like being told I was to go to Disney World Florida that very day.

We got to see Wozniacki v Kuznetsova which was awesome. Although Wozniacki is a player I have adored watching before and Kuznetsova won it, it was amazing to watch them both play. For no particular reason I don’t watch women’s tennis as much as men’s tennis and this has definitely inspired me to watch far more of it. We then watched the Vandeweghe v Bondarenko match which was brilliant too. The players were incredibly strong and talented and these two matches were the most nail biting out of the ones we caught yesterday! I particularly enjoyed it when a player would achieve one of those shots where the ball hits the net but makes it over anyway and they perform the “I’m sorry but I’m not really sorry” wave! Another absolute favourite part of the day was being part of two standing ovations on Centre Court- awesome!

Tuesday 28th June was definitely a dream-like day!

~ Kat ~

Rose-Tinted Glasses: Great South Run

There has always been something in particular (among other awesome aspects) that I have adored about all of the running events I have taken part in so far. The seaside being your permanent view; the support given around the course, and importantly, among the runners; the uphill struggle being accompanied by an incredible downward drop where you feel like you’re flying (and all of terrible thoughts and words directed at the basicallyMountEverestright? ten minutes before are instantly forgotten); the goody bag at the end… I guarantee most runners are as excited as five year olds at a birthday party when they are handed that little bag. Quite honestly I only enter so I can discreetly – or not so discreetly – sneak my new bling into an Instagram or place it somewhere any visitors will most certainly see. The medal is synonymous with vanity; that’s a given. I have run some awesome routes; met ace people; felt eternally grateful for where some water stations are placed…

… And then there’s the Great South Run.

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I was delighted to be surrounded by other keen selfie takers- taking an abundance of the same photo to show off on social media

As soon as I think of the Great South Run I think atmosphere. The drummers; the excited speaker talking through the tannoy; the warm up before; the constant (and I mean constant) support from onlookers and the runners. It doesn’t matter who you are, if someone notices you’re struggling they are likely to check up on you or give you the boost you need.

It was a very hyped day and it meant a lot of gestures simply had me wanting to cry. I ran for the Stroke Association last year (awesome charity!) and I was visibly struggling at mile six. A man who was also wearing the purple Stroke vest passed me and said, “You’ve got this.” And, well, I guess I did. I have never been part of a race as supportive as this one. It’s the biggest event I have been a part of which meant so many of us were just your normal person trying to tick off a goal and it was second nature to everyone to support other goal-ticker-offerers!

I ignored the warning of there being a hill before race day came about, and to be honest, I don’t regret this choice. “Ooooh, that’s a hill isn’t it?” someone remarked as my section of at-the-time runners felt the incline. I think nerves would have consumed me if I knew about it- I’ve run events with worse hills since but man, that Mount Everest felt like the last thing I needed. Luckily everyone tackled it in good spirits with plenty of jokes, which made it somewhat bearable.

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A blissfully calm, selfie-taking Kat who didn’t know about Mount Everest

The finish is still my favourite finish of all of the events I have taken part in since- maybe nearly entirely due to the fact that I felt so drained most of the way round. The Great South Run is known for its headwind at the end of the race as you run alongside the seafront. 2015’s race didn’t bring headwind, which I was incredibly grateful for. I did struggle all the same, and so when I turned the corner into the final stretch, I sprinted as fast as I could, assuming my family, who were at the finish, would see. I like to believe they didn’t see because I was so zoom-y! It was, however, amazing and humbling to see the Stroke Association team cheering me on.

I most definitely have my rose-tinted glasses on but as far as I can remember, I can’t fault this event, despite definitely struggling during those ten miles last year. The Great South was my first ever running event and the one I have battled with the most so far. I am back with vengeance (mostly because my family completely missed my sprint finish) to raise more money and to beat my personal best.

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I ran for Stroke Association after my nan died last year from suffering strokes. Stroke Association is an incredible charity that support victims of strokes, are a massive part of improving and developing treatment and create innovative ways to help (FAST).

During the run I really vividly remember thinking, “This is hard. I am not cut out for this. Never again.” *Queue inspirational turn around.* A month later I ran my first half marathon. The Great South Run, being my first event, taught me a lot that helped not only in the half marathon that followed but all of the events after that:

  • One must hill train. It’s not the worst hill I’ve begrudgingly taken on but since it’s a super flat route, it’s a shock to the system. I have incorporated hill training into most of my runs each week
  • Clothing. It was a HOT day. The month might have been October but I certainly didn’t need a long-sleeve t-shirt underneath my vest. It’s crucial to be ready for any weather and to remember you’re going to get hot on a ten mile run even if it’s mid-December
  • Cool down afterwards. I was super silly and didn’t cool down and my muscles didn’t recover for about two weeks!
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This is my ‘when it finally clicked that I was on the “runners” side of the gate and not the “supporters” and it all of a sudden felt like infant school again and I didn’t want to leave my mum’ face

This year I will be running for St George’s Hospital Charity for my friend Lewis. Lewis suffered a brain haemorrhage a few months ago. I wanted to say thank you for looking after him and since Lewis felt so grateful it felt only right to raise as much money as possible for the hospital and people just like Lewis.

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Me discreetly showing off my medal

I ran the race in 1:32:34, which I was disappointed with but very aware I couldn’t have done better! This year I am aiming for somewhere (although I’m not too sure where yet) between 1:20:00 and 1:28:00!

I want to raise as much as I possibly can for Lewis and the wonderful work the hospital carried out, so if you would like to donate – anything counts! – I will leave the link to my Just Giving just there! The NHS are clearly struggling and I’m super glad Lewis suggested fundraising for this hospital!

~ Kat ~

What I Eat | Event Eve

Since I ran a local event at the weekend – The Gosport Golden Mile and 5k – I thought that documenting what I ate and drunk the day before could be useful for me in the future. It is always said that hydration and the “right” kind of carbohydrates are a priority along with carbo-loading a couple of days before and eating super fresh. I am particularly careful the day before because it can have a massive effect on race day. Hydration and carbohydrates are my number one best friend on Event Eve but I do think it’s trial and error for everyone and different meals, snacks and drinks work for different bodies.

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Since I am no expert on nutrition/running-related nutrition, every time I have an event, I research advice on what to eat and drink around the event, and there’s plenty of advice out there. It can be confusing and leave you feeling lost because it doesn’t all match up, but with a bit of patience I think anyone can find out what works for them.

Left, right and centre I hear about carbo-loading in the days leading up to the race but not on the day before (it could lead to digestive issues). However so many recommend pasta the night before. Don’t massively change your diet- it’ll confuse your body. Yet, you have to be healthy. Yes, drink water: but not too much. Then there’s the issue of fibre.

It’s easy to see why I’m never really sure what’s for the best. Considering all of this and knowing I had a busy day on Event Eve, it brought a simple day-before-the-race of eating that didn’t follow all of the “rules” and yet I felt good on Event Day.

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I try most days to wake up to water. On Saturday I drunk warm water with lemon in order to wake my body up (Advice #1: paper straws don’t work in warm water; advice #2: surprisingly, glass gets hot, ouch). Throughout the day I drunk about one litre of tap water and then three green teas to make up a bit more of the recommended water we should have every day (commonly thought of as two litres). I had one small carton of orange juice and a glass of milk (to make my bones grow stronger-er).

For breakfast I ate poached egg (not the most appetising poached egg) on (wholemeal) toast with asparagus along with one of the green teas. Recipes often tell you to put table salt in the boiled water before you add the asparagus but I used pink Himalayan salts instead!

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For a snack between ten and eleven I ate raspberries and blueberries and then at lunch time I ate tuna (whole weat) pasta with cucumber and tomatoes. I’ll explain why I won’t be having pasta for dinner later (a lot of people do when it comes to running events) but I had a little left over pasta made from the night before and so I used that up!

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This is the first and last time I will be holding frozen grapes in my hand- handfreeze is not fun. I ate frozen grapes as a snack; they are one of my absolutely favourite things to eat. They are super easy to make and particularly nice during summer when it’s a bit warmer.

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When it comes to the night before a lot of people have a big bowl of pasta in order to carbo-load. I actually often do this but I have read up a lot about it recently and stumbled across this Runner’s World article (very useful!). Ultimately it tells us that we should eat whatever we would normally eat before the kind of race we are running the next day. Since the race consisted of just over four miles and I wouldn’t normally eat pasta the night before this kind of distance, I ate chicken breast with lots of sweet potato and (slightly buttered) cabbage!

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Finally, throughout the evening I snacked on a slightly funky looking avocado, my favourite Nakd bar, jelly and an apple while I watched Harvey Specter and Mike Ross do their thang!

~ Kat ~

Leg Day | Gosport Golden Mile and 5K

Yesterday I took part in my first running event for a couple of months and it was very different to one I have taken part in before- also one I have been excited to try out for about a year. The day started with a mile, followed by a 5k. I was excited because the shortest distance I’ve run at an event in the last year has been a 10k so I thought it would be a nice change and I was also very aware I wanted to be fast.

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I really enjoyed the mile- I didn’t want to push it too hard because I knew I wanted to push harder in the 5k but I’m happy with the 7:29 mile I did! I can’t wait to do it again next year and hopefully do sub 7!

The mile was a straight route from one end of Stokes Bay to the other. I took the first half easier and then tried to sprint the last 0.5, ending the mile with a battle against another runner. It reminded me of cross country at junior school and it felt awesome. Despite it not being a PB (in terms of runs I do outside of events), it felt like a strong mile!

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As much as I enjoyed mile one and mile three of the 5k, mile two was terrifying. It was a mile of running across shingle- I only run on the beach when I really have to and it’ll be for less than 0.1 of a mile and so one mile worth was torturous. Although I really wanted to get home to watch an episode of Suits so I did step it up a level in the final sprint.

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The race had an awesome atmosphere-especially lovely to see so many kids because they could take part too. The marshals were brilliant which was definitely needed because it was a muggy morning. It’s been a while since I’ve had an event on a muggy day (last October: Great South Run) and I think I must have really progressed since then because even though it did make for uncomfortable conditions, I do feel like my body dealt with it better than it once would have.

Since I am not opposed to races that end with a medal, I was particularly chuffed to add two more to my collection after yesterday and can’t wait to return next year.

~ Kat ~

A Lava-ly Excursion

On the Thursday of our holiday to Playa Blanca in Lanzarote (which I wrote about more in this post) we went on an excursion to the Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote which meant stopping off at viewpoints around the park, seeing a few volcanic demonstrations and eating in a restaurant on a volcano. My brother and I really wanted to experience something volcano-y on our trip and we thought having dinner on a volcano pretty much ticked all of the boxes.

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Lanzarote is famous for its volcanic landscape, something I didn’t know until three years ago. Last time we stayed in Lanzarote we could see volcanoes from our bedroom. As we coached towards the restaurant it was incredible to see the big and bumpy shapes all around us. It’s quite a bumpy and potentially scary ride for some (although our coach driver was brilliant) but it was amazing to be driven all around the park.

Before stopping off at the viewpoints we went to where the restaurant is located to see a few demonstrations. We handled hot rock, saw a demonstration of fire being created and watched hot steam shoot up from a geyser. I’m no geographer/scientist but it was pretty ace. We also got to have a look around and see our food being cooked (on a BBQ) by the heat of the volcano.

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Wandering around volcanoes definitely called for a cheesy tourist photo shoot and even more breathtaking views. We were pretty high up which meant looking out at such a beautiful view. I didn’t actually take too many photographs but eyes are definitely the better version of a camera sometimes!

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We ate at El Diablo restaurant, watching the sunset over the volcanoes as we did so and listening to Spanish singers as they sung and played instruments- they made the experience just that little bit more cultural.  I guess we could have expected naff food but my family and I really enjoyed it.

This trip was one of the best things I have experienced and most certainly worth the money. It also kept my pretentious happy for one more day!

~ Kat ~

A Run with a View | Playa Blanca

Last week my family and I spent a week in Playa Blanca (Lanzarote) for my mum’s 50th birthday (which I wrote a post about earlier this week). I have had the goal for a while to make sure that I run in every country I visit and this goal started with Lanzarote! On the Thursday morning my mum and I ventured out into the sunny and warm albeit nicely breezy morning for a run.

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I was expecting the run to be a little unpleasant because of the heat but the challenge was rewarding. We firstly headed down the harbour, passing locals setting up shops, lazy cats bathing in the shade and admiring the sandy and rocky beach. It was a picture perfect blue morning and it had only just turned eight o’clock.

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The walk/run to and along the harbour is lined with colourful locks- locks written on by couples, families and friends. They were something I adored taking far too many pictures of and they were a sweet thing to leave on holiday- something my family and I definitely should have done. We faced a few hills and a few moments of overpowering sunshine before we reached the end of the harbour and headed back on ourselves.

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After passing where we started we ran through the marina which is home to a lot of our favourite restaurants. We continued pass the cluster of restaurants and shops, running over pretty cobbled paving and turned back once we reached the boats at the end.

All in all we ran a 5k we were pretty chuffed with. It was a very sweaty run but a seriously therapeutic one. It was early in the morning (most definitely one of the only times us two Brits could handle because of the cooler temperature) and it was hard not to feel just that little bit smug when we returned back.

The day before we left my mum and I headed out for another run that wouldn’t be disturbed by me taking photos. My mum joined me for four miles and I continued for an extra mile along the marina and up some very steep hills. I managed to end the run with a very-nearly-floor-face-palm and had to do that thing where I attempted to laugh it off and looked back at the spot as if looking back makes everything less embarrassing.

As well as walking a lot, the hotel had a gym which I used a couple of times. One trip to the gym involved a workout I have repeated at home since returning and I’m excited to do again (although the very humid gym did mean for a much more “glowy” forehead afterwards!).

3 sets of:

  • 20 x side lunges (10 on each leg)
  • 20 x Spiderman plank (10 on each leg)
  • 12 x crunches
  • 10 x inchworm plank (without press up)
  • 10 x press ups
  • 10 x burpees

It was nice to incorporate more exercise into my holiday than I would have a couple of years ago- although it was mainly just to look like a professional athlete and ignore the daily ice creams we were having (although I was particularly fond of raspberry ice cream which I’m sure is a portion of fruit).

~ Kat ~

A Day Trip to Fuerteventura

On the Tuesday of our holiday (which you can read a little bit more about HERE) – which was my mum’s 50th birthday – we headed over to the island just across the water to celebrate: Fuerteventura.

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After a 40/50 minute boat ride over to the island we got a 10 minute coach ride to a town that was full of clothes shops, cafes and souvenir shops. The town is definitely different to places I have visited in Lanzarote- very modern and super busy. It was one of the hottest days of the holiday and after looking through a few shops we found a cafe to have sit down at with a croissant and a smoothie.

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Next we had another short coach trip to the island’s National Park- the sand dunes. It was without a doubt my favourite part of the trip and one of my favourite 15 minutes of our week away. The picture above doesn’t do it justice at all but it seemed like we were surrounded by endless white sandy hills with a pretty blue backdrop. Because of the (I am likely to get this entirely wrong) sun reflecting onto the sand creating its white colour it means the sand never gets hot and burns your feet, and so we walked barefoot across the sand and admired the view. I spent a lot of time trying to get a photo of me taking a star jump but they all have my mum’s finger half over the lens (just can’t get the staff ay?) but every time I flick through them they do make me chuckle. We were all in awe of our Windows-background-worthy view.

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We then coached to a beach not very far at all from the sand dunes. My mum and I found a lot of childish excitement in standing just into the sea and letting the waves wash over our feet and legs- something that was very refreshing when the sun was beating down. We then read our books and drunk a glass of sangria.

It was just turning into early evening when we returned home on the boat, and it was a journey I won’t ever forget. A wavy sea meant for babies crying; parents crying; staff running around with tissue and encouraging words. Despite a lot of devastation there was a general feel of amusement and since I can’t remember going on any excursions with lots of other holidayers before this trip, it definitely felt like a High School Musical, we are all on this together moment.

Fuerteventura made lots of my favourite memories ever.

~ Kat ~

 

Playa Blanca | Lanzarote

This year, for my mum’s 50th birthday my family and I holidayed in Playa Blanca in Lanzarote, one of the Canary islands. It is the smallest Canary island and pretty windy too- the wind often being a welcomed friend (as deceiving as it may be). We stayed at Peublo Marinero, a hotel made up of pretty apartments that definitely make for a slice of paradise.

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On the first night we walked along the marina while the sun was setting. We visited Playa Blanca just two years ago and it was awesome to soak up the nostalgia and the plethora of opportunities I was going to have to take pretentious and pretty photographs. The marina is scattered with amazing restaurants, bars and little shops and I am delighted we re-visited restaurants we did two years ago whilst also trying out new places.

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The first night brought just a bit of drama- in a sleepy daze I sat up, terrifying my mum while I urgently muttered “What is that? What is that light?!” It seemed once I realised it was just a light flashing on something in the room, I drifted back into sleep. Although later on I amused my mum by giggling in my sleep! Luckily there weren’t too many more incidents, although much to my mum’s surprise, very early in the morning of her birthday I involuntarily shouted HAPPY BIRTHDAY at her.

On the first full day we took a walk in the opposite direction of the marina, down the harbour, passed the rocks, sandy beach and more restaurants, bars and shops. The harbour is more lively and busy in comparison to the chilled out atmosphere that comes with the marina. It is where we got our first (of many- oops!) ice creams; our favourite place to get one from, we concluded at the end of the holiday. One euro per scoop- my favourite being the combination of Nutella and raspberry.

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On the Wednesday I woke up early so I could head out and watch the sunrise and take a few photos. It was pretty cool wandering just outside the hotel and around the marina while it was super quiet before the shops and restaurants opened. The sunrise seemed similar to the sunset, just accompanied by quiet instead of the buzz of holidayers.

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Yesterday morning (our final day) we headed down to the end of the marina and had breakfast- I had the crepe named Suzette which had orange juice, butter and sugar in it (not nutritious but very delicious).

I had an awesome time on holiday. Mum and I started the holiday with prosecco on the plane while we all coloured in our adult colouring books. Side note: witnessing every adult turning into an excited child at the sight of the duty free booklet is something that I haven’t yet decided whether’s it’s disturbing or amusing. We finished the holiday with many a rounds of Uno and just a few chunks of Milka (I’m glad Milka isn’t all that easy to find in the UK or my plan to get back into healthy after holiday would be destroyed on day one!).

Adiós!

~ Kat ~

Chilli Cheese Salmon Pasta

When I was younger, once a week, my mum would make salmon (sometimes with cream cheese and breadcrumbs), new potatoes and vegetables for dinner. It became a dish I begrudged (and maybe why I still wake up on Tuesdays filled with dread), even though I liked/even loved parts of the dish when they came with other essential parts to a dinner. I had no particular reason for my weekly jokes about the dish and realised that when my mum one day altered my version – mixed the broccoli and cream cheese in with pasta – I actually really adored salmon. Thinking dreamily about this dish (who’d have thought after all of that complaining?!) lead me to creating this dinner/lunch full of veg, energy and oily fish greatness.

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Now I would eat this particular concoction every day if I could- the cheese is what stops me (as much as I adore cheese I do limit the amount I eat). What does make it so awesome is that it’s so flexible: you can pretty much throw in any vegetables and get a good four or five portions out of this meal! The chilliness can also be adjusted according to your tolerance of spice. It’s so satisfyingly brilliant that this dish can be made into such a nutritious meal and demonstrates in the simplest ways that so many bog-standard ingredients can be substituted for healthier options every single day.


Ingredients | For two chilli cheese fanatics

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 140g whole wheat pasta
  • 400 ml Alpro Soya Original
  • 90g chilli cheese
  • 14 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 broccoli
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 4 handfuls of spinach
  • A  well thought-out amount of sweet chilli (see method for explanation)
  • A pinch of fine pink Himalayan salts

Method

1. Prepare all of the ingredients: measure out all of the pasta; foil and oil the salmon if needed (or bring out salmon if it just needs grilling); measure out the soya milk into a jug; cut the cheese into thin rectangles; chop the cherry tomatoes into four pieces; chop up the broccoli; chop the pepper into small squares/rectangles; get out the spinach; chop up half a sweet chilli into teeny tiny blocks; test a piece of the sweet chilli to determine the spiciness and how much you want to use; retrieve the salt.

2. Follow the salmon fillet instructions. *I am likely to choose salmon fillets that I oven cook but if I am to grill the salmon I will start grilling the salmon when I pour the pasta into the boiled water!* Place the foiled salmon into the preheated oven and begin to boil the water for the pasta.

3. Bring a smaller pan of water to boil and add and boil broccoli. Add pasta to the first pan of boiled water and cook.

4. After turning on a hob to a low temperature pour quarter/half of the soya milk into a big pan and stir frequently (be very cautious of it not burning!). Continue to add milk until it’s used up.

5. Heat a frying pan with some kind of light frying liquid/spray. *I will be using Fry Light sunflower oil.* After a minute or so add the tomatoes and peppers and stir often.

6. One by one add and stir the cheese into the milk and it should turn the milk into an orangey kind of colour. Add the chilli at your discretion and stir in. Test the flavour all throughout depending on how milky/spicy you want it.

7. Drain the broccoli and leave to one side. Add spinach to the tomato and pepper pan and stir whilst watching it shrink. Add as much as you like before adding the broccoli.

8. Add a little sprinkle of Himalayn salts to the milky sauce and stir. Taste and then add until you are happy.

9. Heat and stir everything until the pasta and salmon is cooked. Turn off the veg pan and add to the milky sauce, stir and leave while you turn off the pasta and the oven/grill, drain the pasta and serve up onto two pasta dishes/plates. Cut up the salmon into flaky bits and stir into the two pastas. Turn off the milky sauce and stir into the dishes.

10. Enjoy!


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Chilli cheese is just about my favourite thing; it can be found in a lot of supermarkets and you can easily adjust your spiciness when considering which spicy cheese to choose. I once chose a sweet chilli lime cheese which was a nice addition! I sometimes add a bit of chilli powder whilst being careful because, although I have started appreciating spice more, I am no spice warrior.

When I first made this I used “yellow” pasta, cream for the sauce and table salt for flavour. I realised quickly I could substitute these for healthier options. I find whole wheat pasta far more delicious and will for ever use that as a substitute. Despite the fact cream does make for a better consistency the milk brings a delicious flavour to it all; it’s a super tasty substitute to cream and great for cooking with. I heard about pink Himalayan salts earlier this year and recently (finally!)picked some up. Its benefits are awesome, including less sodium than the average processed salt. Upon googling you can easily find some health benefits that come from this pretty salt.

Despite the cheese in this dish, last night I read an awesome blog post by Deliciously Ella (follow THIS LINK to read!) that brilliantly puts the message out that it’s totally fine, for example, to have cheese in my lifestyle. I have always believed what Ella wrote about healthy living not being a diet but a lifestyle, and it’s totally cool to have something like cheese in our lifestyle- it’s all about balance!

When making this for the second time, I did learn a lesson that has burned into my brain. Despite having washed my hands a couple of times after handling the chillies and chilli powder (even after the meal was finished and washed up!), I made the fatal error of listening to Adele and passionately duetting with her in my bedroom. Tears were shed at our performance and I wiped my eyes… I set fire to my eyes. Take note.

Yum out!

~ Kat ~